Facts of the Case

Provided by Oyez

An Oklahoma law prohibited persons who were not licensed optometrists or ophthalmologists to fit lenses for eyeglasses. Non-licensed individuals were also prohibited from duplicating optical instruments without written prescriptions from licensed ophthalmologists. The Lee Optical Company challenged the law.


  1. Did the Oklahoma law violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?


  1. In a unanimous decision authored by William Orville Douglas, the Court held that while the law may have been "needless" and "wasteful," it was the duty of the legislature, not the courts, "to balance the advantages and disadvantages of the new requirement." That is, Courts should not be able to invalidate state economic regulations on the grounds that they disagree with the theories supporting them. Even if the state law imposes burdens or waste, the legislature has the sole authority over weighing its benefits against its costs. In sum, the opticians could not prove that the law had no rational relationship to legitimate state objectives.