Thursday, December 5, 2013

Houser v. State case brief

Houser v. State case brief summary
540 P.2d 412 (1975)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant citizen sought review of a judgment of the Superior Court for Thurston County (Washington) in favor of Appellees, the State and its agencies, in a class action challenging the constitutionality of the legislation establishin a minimum age of 21 for the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The trial court had rendered summary judgment in favor of appellees.

CASE FACTS
Appellant contended that the legislation making it illegal for 18-20 year olds to consume alcoholic beverages violated his right to equal protection.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that the trial court did not err when it granted judgment for appellees. 
  • First, strict scrutiny was not the appropriate level of review because age discriminations were not inherently suspect and there was no fundamental right to consume alcohol. 
  • Thus, the trial court correctly applied a rational basis level of review. 
  • Second, there was no genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the classification was rationally related to the legislative purpose behind the statute. 
  • The studies cited by appellees to the trial court were judicially noticeable because the finding that it was rational to believe that the discrimination did correspond to a permissible state objective was a step in the court's legal reasoning, not a conclusion regarding the factual background of the particular dispute before it. 
  • Based on the studies, a state of facts reasonably could have been conceived that sustained the classification.

CONCLUSION
The decision of the trial court was affirmed.

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