427 U.S. 307 (1976)
The retirement board appealed the trial court's decision in favor of the police officer. He had challenged the validity of § 26(3)(a), which mandated his retirement at the age of 50, on equal protection grounds.
- On appeal, the Court held that the appropriate level of equal protection review was rationality and that the statute furthered a legitimate governmental interest.
- The Court stated that the strict scrutiny standard of review was applicable to equal protection claims only when the classification impermissibly interfered with the exercise of a fundamental right or operated to the peculiar disadvantage of a suspect class.
- Because governmental employment was not a per se right, a lower standard of review was appropriate for legislation that restricted employment opportunities.
- Moreover, those over 50 failed to constitute a suspect class as they had not been subjected to the history of purposeful discrimination usually associated with racial and ethnic minorities.
- Thus, as § 26(3)(a)furthered the State's interest in ensuring the physical preparedness of its uniformed police officers, there was a rational basis for its requirement of mandatory retirement at the age of 50.
The Court reversed the trial court's judgment.