What is the legal effect of a successful "as applied" challenge? Does it cancel out the whole law or just create new enforcement guidelines which suggest that the applied conduct should not be punished?

1 Answer 1


It doesn't invalidate the whole law; an as-applied challenge means you're not saying "this law is generally unconstitutional," you're saying "this law cannot constitutionally be applied to me." A successful as-applied challenge means that the court rules that the law can't be applied in the case in question; this sets a precedent that it can't be applied in similar cases, but leaves it intact in general.

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