New Orleans v. Dukes Case Brief

Summary of New Orleans v. Dukes

Facts: New Orleans ordinance banned all pushcart vendors from the French Quarter except those who had been there for 8+ years. Dukes sues under the EPC, saying that there’s no good reason to allow them but discriminate against him just because he’s only been there for 2 years.

Procedural history: Lower court said that the legislation violated the EPC.

Issue: Does the legislation violate the EPC by unreasonably drawing a distinction between those who had been there for 8 years and those who had been there for 2 years?

Holding: No, the legislation doesn’t violate the EPC.

Reasoning: Unless legislation infringes fundamental personal rights or it is drawn upon “suspect" distinctions (race, religion), then the law is presumed to be valid unless someone can show that the statute isn’t rationally related to a legitimate state interest.

This legislation is rationally related to the legitimate state interest of preserving the appearance of the French Quarter. If the legislature wants to promote this interest in steps, by only limiting certain pushcart vendors right now, that’s their prerogative. It doesn’t violate the EPC.

Judgment: Reversed.


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