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City of Cleburne, Texas v. Cleburne Living Center, Inc

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 473 U.S. 432, 105 S. Ct. 3249, 87 L. Ed. 2d 313, 1985 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, City of Cleburne (Petitioner), denied a special use permit to the Respondent, Cleburne Living Center (Respondent), for the establishment of a group home for the mentally retarded in the community. The Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit determined that this group is a “quasi-suspect” class and that the ordinance violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution (Constitution).

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Legislation that distinguishes between the mentally retarded and others must be rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose.


Facts. The Respondent bought a property from a private owner with the intention of starting a group home for the mentally retarded. It was expected that 13 persons would reside in the house of 4 bedrooms and 2 baths. Petitioner required Respondent to apply for a special use permit and then denied the application.

Issue. Is the mentally retarded part of a “quasi-suspect” class subject to a higher scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause?
Is the special use permit requirement constitutional?

Content Type: Brief


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