Brief Fact Summary.
Pergament challenged a claim against the City of New Orleans for displaying a sign that violated local ordinances that sought to preserve the historical value of the city.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
If an ordinance is arbitrary or allows discriminatory zoning, the ordinance violates the Equal Protection Clause.
The purpose of the ordinance is not only to preserve the old buildings themselves, but to preserve the antiquity of the whole French and Spanish quarter, the tout ensemble, so to speak, by defending this relic against iconoclasm or vandalism.View Full Point of Law
Pergament owned a gas station that displayed a large sign violating a local ordinance. The City of New Orleans sued Pergament for violating the ordinance and the lower court granted judgment to Pergament.
Whether an ordinance violates the Equal Protection Clause if it is arbitrary or allows discriminatory zoning?
Yes. The ordinance is not arbitrary because the ordinance seeks to prevent eyesores that could decrease the historic value of the city. The ordinance also was not discriminatory because it provided advertising limits that were equal to all business owners. The judgment of the lower court is reversed.
An ordinance will be administered in an discriminatory and arbitrary manner if an ordinance does not maintain uniform standards for all business owners.