The Supreme Court decision in Maher v. Roe, denying an equal protection claim to Medicaid payments for elective abortions, illustrates the Court's inconsistent application of minimal rationality standards to socioeconomic legislation. This comment analyzes Maher in light of recent irreconcilable Supreme Court decisions involving similar equal protection claims to welfare payments. It shows that the Court's standard of review vacillates between deferential abdication to the legislature and unexplained judicial interventionism, and concludes that until the Court adheres to a consistent and principled approach to minimal rationality review, equal protection will remain an area for unrestrained imposition of judicial, rather than constitutional, values. The alternative offered is an articulated rationality test that would limit the Court to reviewing state-articulated, rather than Court-hypothesized, objectives.
Lynda D. Frazier, Equal Protection and Welfare Legislation: The Need for a Principled Approach, 1 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 323 (1978).