New York City Transit Authority v. Beazer
440 U.S. 568 (1979)
NYCTA had a blanket rule that
they would not employ anyone found to be using narcotics.
They included in that
definition anyone who was taking methadone as a treatment for heroin
Beazer and another guy were
fired for taking methadone and sued.
The Trial Court found the rule
to be an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
The Appellate Court affirmed.
The US Supreme Court reversed
and found the rule to be constitutional.
The US Supreme Court found that
the NYCTA had a rational basis for
its classification of narcotics users and the extension of this rule to
cover methadone users was permissible.
Beazer unsuccessfully argued
that the rule was overinclusive.
While there was good reason for not wanting drug addicts driving subway
trains, it shouldn't include people who were in treatment and were
working in desk jobs unconnected to safety.
The Court noted that it was
probably unwise for NYCTA to rely on a blanket rule instead of
considering everyone on a case-by-case basis, but that was NYCTA's
problem, it wasn't a constitutional issue.
Basically, this case said that
if there is a legitimate purpose (in this case train safety), it is
constitutional permissible to write a law that goes above and beyond the
minimum necessary to accomplish the goal, even if that ends up hurting