Facial versus As-Applied Challenges

A law is either facially unconstitutional or unconstitutional as-applied to a certain situation. There are significant differences in how the law treats these challenges. A facial challenge to constitutionality is more difficult than an as-applied challenge.

With a facial challenge, the Court evaluates the law generally and determines if there should be a “complete invalidation of the law.” Bennett v. St. Louis County, Missouri, 542 S.W.3d 392, 397 (Mo. App. E.D. 2017). On the other hand, an as-applied challenge requires a review of a plaintiff’s particular circumstances. Id. If an as-applied challenge succeeds, the law is barred against a particular plaintiff.

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