Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History: April 23, 1985

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4/23/1985: Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, Inc. argued.

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  1. You gotta love unanimous decisions.

  2. I would actually like to see what law professors think this case means today because there are three very interesting issues here.

    1: While this case predates ADA by 5 years, that law (as amended) would very much be involved in an issue like this today. Suits over zoning being used to preclude Methadone Clinics come to mind, in particular one in Rockland, Maine which sued under ADA to be opened, only to be shut down by the DEA and it’s owner arrested for possession of cocaine. See: https://bangordailynews.com/2011/11/16/news/midcoast/rockland-panel-approves-methadone-clinic-at-former-turning-tide-site/

    2: 13 clients in 4 bedrooms is three rooms with three and one with four — I do not believe that anything more than two to a bedroom would be allowed today. In Massachusetts there is the State Sanitary Code (105 CMR 410) which specifies occupancy based on square footage of both the bedroom and total unit, and there are funding rules which mandate single bedrooms — a lot of the people running these homes also double-dip into the Section 8 program by calling these 0-bedroom apartments.

    3: Two “college towns” that I know of (Amherst & Worcester MA) have enacted ordinances prohibiting more than four “unrelated” persons from residing in the same unit (i.e. apartment). This prevents five college students from renting a house — and at least in Amherst, the ordinance is enforced.

    Hence while the five adults could legally reside there if two were legally married to each other, they otherwise can not. (I suggested that two of the young ladies marry each other and then divorce upon graduation…)

    What would professors say about this decision and this?

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