Compelling Public Interest
Compelling public interest is the justification or persuasive need to enforce a given statute that limits and controls an individual’s right or distinguishes between one individual and another as a result of a suspect categorization in a constitutional manner. To be justifiable, the statute being enforced must be embodied in a recognized law and should only be furthered by the law. Compelling public interest ensures that a national statute is not intended for a particular group of people of class for instance sex, race, ethnicity or religion or a constitutionally safeguarded right like the right to vote and speech (George, 2009).
Individuals’ disagreements on Compelling public interest
Several groups of people or even individuals who do not agree on the principle of compelling public interest base their claims on discrimination on grounds of sex or religion. For instance, before 1990, the Supreme Court universally held that any state restriction on religion must apply the compelling public interest in the least oppressive manner. This standard formula was referred to as strict scrutiny test. This was however not adhered to in an Oregon case in which the use of peyote and prohibited drug was used for sacramental functions by two Native Americans. The Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutional to ensure that citizens comply with the established and valid state laws even if compliance contradicted with their religious practices (Jean, 2010).
Another case of disagreement is the Sherbert v. Verner in which the Supreme Court held that the states should have a compelling public interest in refusing to acknowledge religious grounded behavior. The ban on same-sex marriages has also been another issue in compelling public interest. The debate on whether the ban is discriminative on the basis of sex is still on since various groups of people have not agreed on the matter (Jean, 2010).
Supreme Court Justice Definition
A Supreme Court justice should define compelling public interest based on the issue under consideration. The compelling public interest should guide the justice in arriving at a logical conclusion. Under this perspective, the compelling public interest would be described as the justification of enforcement of a statute that limits or controls an individual’s right in a constitutional manner (George, 2009).