Massachusetts Board of Retirement v. Murgia
427 U.S. 307 (1976)

  • Murgia was a policeman in Massachusetts. When he turned 50 he was involuntarily retired, per Massachusetts law.
    • Murgia claimed to be in great shape and wanted to continue being a policeman.
    • Massachusetts argued that they had a good reason for having a mandatory retirement age, namely the physical requirements of the job were probably too much for old people.
  • Murgia sued, claiming that the mandatory retirement was age discrimination, and was therefore an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
  • The US Supreme Court found the Massachusetts law to be constitutional.
    • The US Supreme Court found that the proper level of judicial review for age discrimination claims was rational basis.
      • The Court found that old people were not a suspect class, and being a policeman was not a fundamental right.
    • The Court found that Massachusetts had a rational basis for preventing old people from working in jobs with high physical requirements.