Rational Basis Scrutiny Law & Legal Definition


Rational basis scrutiny means a level of scrutiny applied by courts while determining cases involving issues of constitutional due process or equal protection issues pertaining to the Fifth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment. Rational basis is the lowest level of scrutiny when compared with intermediate scrutiny and strict scrutiny. Rational basis is the default level of review that a court applies when engaging in judicial review. However, rational basis scrutiny is not applied in situations where a suspect or quasi-suspect classification is involved, or a fundamental right is involved. Under rational basis scrutiny, the means need only be "rationally related" to a conceivable and legitimate state end. Further, in rational basis scrutiny, empirical support is not even necessary to sustain a classification.