The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a local zoning ordinance that prohibited most unrelated groups from living together in a single-unit dwelling.
The owner of a house in the small village of Belle Terre, New York, leased it to six unrelated college students. When cited for violating a zoning ordinance, the owners and tenants went to court, claiming that the ordinance violated their constitutional right of privacy. Speaking for a 7-2 majority, Justice William O. Douglas
Although upholding the ordinance, the Belle Terre decision demonstrated the Supreme Court’s developing commitment to the doctrine of substantive due process, requiring that any restraints on liberty must be justified by an adequate state interest. The decision should be compared with Moore v. City of East Cleveland
Assembly and association, freedom of
Due process, substantive
Griswold v. Connecticut
Moore v. City of East Cleveland
Privacy, right to