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Williamson v. Lee Optical of Oklahoma, Inc

Citation. 348 U.S. 483, 75 S. Ct. 461, 99 L. Ed. 563, 1955 U.S.
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Brief Fact Summary.

The Oklahoma legislature passed a statute prohibiting opticians from fitting or duplicating eyeglass lenses without a prescription from an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A law need not be logically consistent with its aims to be constitutional. It just needs to be a rationally related to a legitimate government interest.


The District Court of Oklahoma held that the regulation limiting the extent of an optician’s practice violated the United States Constitution (Constitution) because it was not reasonable or rationally related to the health and welfare of the people.


Is a statute limiting the function of an optician constitutional?


Yes. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) will no longer use the Due Process Clause or the 14th Amendment to strike down state laws, regulatory of business and industrial conditions, because they run afoul of a particular school of thought.


This is an example of how low the burden was eventually lowered for rational basis. Here, the Supreme Court provides its own scenarios of “could have happened” during the legislative decision making process. The reason for the regulation does not matter to the Supreme Court. As long as it is constitutional, then it is a valid reason for the law.

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