Intermediate Scrutiny Definition

A legal standard used to decide the constitutionality, under the 5th Amendment and 14th Amendment equal protection guarantees, of a law, policy, or practice that involves a quasi-suspect classification such as gender or illegitimacy.

To meet this standard, the government must show that its law, policy, or practice is substantially related to achieving an important government interest. The intermediate scrutiny standard is more demanding than rational basis review, but less stringent than the strict scrutiny standard.

For an example of intermediate scrutiny, see United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996) (state university that denied admission to women violated 14th Amendment equal protection clause).