balancing test | Definition

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A balancing test is a method used by courts to weigh and balance the competing interests of different parties in a case.

In the context of constitutional law, a balancing test is often used to determine whether a government action or law is constitutional, by considering the extent to which it infringes upon an individual’s constitutional rights against the government’s interest in regulating or restricting those rights.

For example, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects freedom of speech, but this freedom is not absolute. The government may regulate speech in certain circumstances, such as if it is likely to incite violence or if it constitutes defamation. In these cases, the court may use a balancing test to weigh the government’s interest in regulating the speech against the individual’s right to freedom of speech. The court may also consider other factors, such as the context in which the speech took place and the impact of the regulation on society as a whole.

[ Glossary ]


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