East Cleveland created an ordinance that restricts the number of people who can live in a single house. The ordinance particularly restricted those who can live within a single household to members of an immediate nuclear family. They justified such a restriction on the basis of overpopulation in homes because so any students were flocking to live with relatives to attend East Cleveland’s school district, which in turn was a major financial burden on schools. The city also cited overcrowding and overpopulation as justification for the ordinance. Plaintiffs violated and were charged for violating the ordinance.
Whether the ordinance violates the due process clause.
Yes, held, the law is invalid and unconstitutional. The court held there to be no tangible state interest at stake and unduly and intrusively regulated the family. The court cited a very strong constitutional protection of the family. Citing Griswold, the court looked to the history and tradition of the nation and held that the family’s right to house whomever they choose come from basic values that underlie society. These rights should not be violated unless there is much more than the weak relationship shown between the cited problems the city sought to address and the ordinance. The city, for instance, could have more narrowly tailored their ordinance by simply engaging in fire hazard occupational limits.