Facts of the Case

Provided by Oyez

In 1980, Cleburne Living Center, Inc. submitted a permit application to operate a home for the mentally retarded. The city council of Cleburne voted to deny the special use permit, acting pursuant to a municipal zoning ordinance.



  1. Did the denial of the permit violate the Equal Protection rights of Cleburne Living Center, Inc. and its potential residents?


  1. In a unanimous judgment, the Court held that the denial of the special use permit to Cleburne Living Centers, Inc. was premised on an irrational prejudice against the mentally retarded, and hence unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. While the Court declined to grant the mentally retarded the status of a "quasi-suspect class," it nevertheless found that the "rational relation" test for legislative action provided sufficient protection against invidious discrimination.