A Statutory Presumption That a Student Is Not a Resident of the Community Where He Is Attending School Violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
Fjetland, Gale M.
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The court in Whatley held article 5.08(k) of the Texas Election Code was unconstitutional because a statutory presumption of non-residency, applicable to students only, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The author comments that, although the United States Supreme Court has never heard a challenge to a statute such as article 5.08(k), the strength of precedent striking down similar presumptions made it predictable that article 5.08(k) would fall. Further, the author suggests various policy grounds in support of the Fifth Circuit’s decision. The author concludes that, the Fifth Circuit has taken a significant step in eliminating discrimination and in preserving the right to vote, in turn strengthening the democratic process.