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City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 473 U.S. 432, 105 S. Ct. 3249, 87 L. Ed. 2d 313, 1985 U.S. 118.

Brief Fact Summary. A Texas city denied an applicant a special use permit for the operation of a group home for the mentally retarded. The Court of Appeals found that the ordinance violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution (Constitution).

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Denial of a permit for the operation of homes for the mentally retarded violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution where such denial is not rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose.


Facts. A zoning ordinance for the City of Cleburne (the City) permitted a wide variety of uses on a proposed cite of land, including for hospitals, for sanitariums and for homes for the aged, but excluded the operation of homes for the insane or feebleminded. The City, acting pursuant to the ordinance, denied an applicant a special use permit for the operation of a group home for the mentally retarded. The Court of Appeals held that the ordinance and the denial violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

Issue.
Did the denial of a permit for the operation of homes for the mentally retarded violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution?
Did the lower court err in treating the mentally retarded as a “quasi-suspect class” and therefore subjecting the law to “middle level scrutiny?”

Content Type: Brief


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