Moore v. City of East Cleveland, Ohio
431 U.S. 494 (1977)

  • Inez Moore lived in a house with her son (Dale Sr.) and grandson (Dale Jr). Her other grandson (John) came to live with them after his mother died.
    • Dale Jr. and John were cousins.
  • East Cleveland ordered John out of the house, and when Inez failed to comply, East Cleveland filed a criminal complaint.
    • There was a housing ordinance that limited occupancy of a dwelling to “members of a single family.”
  • The Trial Court found Inez guilty and fined her $25. She appealed.
    • Inez argued that the ordinance was an unconstitutional violation of substantive due process and that she had a fundamental right to keep her extended family together.
    • East Cleveland argued that the ordinance was constitutional as long as it bore a rational relationship to permissible State objectives.
  • The US Supreme Court found the ordinance to be an unconstitutional violation of substantive due process.
    • The US Supreme Court distinguished Belle Terre because that case had to do with an ordinance forbidding unrelated people from living together.
    • The Supreme Court recognized that there is a fundamental right to keep a family together.
      • That includes extended families such as Inez.
    • Because of the fundamental right involved, the East Cleveland ordinance is subject to strict scrutiny as opposed to the rational basis review used in Belle Terre.
      • “The family is not beyond regulation, but when the government intrudes on choices concerning family living arrangements, this Court must examine carefully the importance of the governmental interests advanced and the extent to which they are served by the challenged regulation.”