Moore V. East Cleveland - Holding


The Supreme Court held that the ordinance was a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court further held that

(a) This case was distinguishable from Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas, because that ordinance only affected unrelated individuals. The ordinance here limits its definition of family to the nuclear family, a relatively new conception.

(b) When the government intrudes on choices concerning family living arrangements, the usual deference to the legislature is inappropriate, and the Court must examine carefully the importance of the governmental interests advanced and the extent to which they are served by the challenged regulation.

(c) The ordinance had a weak relationship to the objectives cited by the city such as avoiding overcrowding, traffic congestion, and an undue financial burden on the school system because a nuclear family could still have a much larger impact on these than a small group of extended family living together.

(d) The strong constitutional protection of the sanctity of the family established in numerous decisions of this Court extends to the family choice involved in this case, and is not confined within an arbitrary boundary drawn at the limits of the nuclear family (essentially a couple and their dependent children). Appropriate limits on substantive due process come not from drawing arbitrary lines, but from careful "respect for the teachings of history solid recognition of the basic values that underlie our society." Griswold v. Connecticut and that the history and tradition of this Nation compel a larger conception of the family.

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