Sunday, September 16, 2012

City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center case brief

 E. Case: City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center (US 1985)

1. Facts: A retarded group home challenges a city zoning ordinance which requires a special use permit for retarded group homes, but not for other group living arrangements (e.g. fraternity houses, nursing homes)

2. Held:

a. The ct. refuses to classify the retarded as a suspect class

b. Nevertheless, the ct. applying the rational basis test, strikes down the law, as applied to P's home.

3. Reasoning:

a. Slippery slope: if you declare the retarded a protected class; other groups will want similar status.
b. You can't help the retarded by making them a suspect class.

F. Prof. Law's Response to Cleburne

1. Laws that help a suspect class should be loosely scrutinized, while laws that hurt a suspect class should be strictly scrutinized.

2. Problem: Does leg. meant to help a suspect class actually help?

a. ex. Protective Labor Legislation: Women couldn't work more than 8 hrs./day. This hurt women.

G. Best way to establish a suspect class (Prof. Law):

1. Show a history of oppression against the class

2. Show a history of political powerlessness.

3. Show the class is a discrete, insular minority & is vulnerable.

4. Show IMMUTABILITY: The class members have no control of their characteristics. (ex. race, gender, retardation)

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