Opening Statement and Judicial Interpretation

The State of New York has passed a statute (law) known as the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act (TPA), which provides that women who become pregnant before the age of 18 will not be issued a driver’s license by the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV).    Mary  Smith became pregnant at the age of 17 and has applied for a driver’s license. The DMV has denied her application and has informed her that a New York statute forbids the DMV from issuing driver’s licenses to people in her condition.  Mary is furious and has filed an action in federal court arguing that the New York statute violates her constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides in relevant part, that all people are entitled to the equal protection of the law (The Equal Protection Clause).  The State of New York takes the position that the TPA is needed to deal with the serious problem of teenage pregnancy in the State, which according to Governor Cuomo, has reached epidemic proportions. You represent the State of New York and therefore it is your job to argue the case before the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of the statute and its constitutionality.  Write a detailed opening statement in which you argue for the constitutionality of the law. Your statement should begin with a statement of facts containing the relevant facts of the case. Next, you should state which level of review the court should apply in deciding this case (strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, or rational basis test).  Next, you must argue why the Court should uphold the constitutionality of the TPA arguing that the State of New York (NYS) has a compelling governmental interest in preventing teenage pregnancy (in case the Court applies the strict scrutiny level of review); that the State of New York has an important governmental interest in preventing teenage pregnancy (in case the Court applies the intermediate scrutiny level of review) and that the State of New York has a legitimate governmental interest (in case the Court applies the rational basis test).  Your argument will be more effective if you start with the least stringent test (rational basis) and work your way up to the most stringent level of review (strict scrutiny). Write your statement as if you were speaking directly to the Court.  Your opening sentence should state: “Good morning, Your Honors. My name is [your name] and I am here to argue the case on behalf of the State of New York.”

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