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O'Meara v. The Washington State Board Against Discrimination (1961)

No. 35436. En Banc. Supreme Court September 29, 1961

[1] CIVIL RIGHTS - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES AND CLASS LEGISLATION - REASONABLENESS OF CLASSIFICATION. Laws of 1957, chapter 37, which amends the law against discrimination (RCW 49.60) by empowering the State Board Against Discrimination to compel a person offering his home for sale to sell it to a person designated by the board, but limits such power to the sale of homes upon which a loan from a federal or state agency remains unpaid, is unconstitutional in that it violates the equal protection clause of the federal constitution (U.S. Const. Fourteenth Amendment) and the privileges and immunities clause of the state constitution (Const. Art. I, § 12), since persons with FHA and similar mortgages on their homes are no more likely to discriminate against minority groups than those without such mortgages, and, thus, the classification established by the legislature bears no reasonable relation to the evil sought to be eliminated.

FINLEY, C. J., HILL, ROSELLINI, and HUNTER, JJ., dissent.

Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court for King County, No. 535996, James W. Hodson, J., entered October 14, 1959, vacating an order of the State Board Against Discrimination. Affirmed.

The Attorney General, Philip R. Meade, Wing Luke, and Elihu Hurwitz, Assistants, for appellant.

George J. Toulouse, Jr. (Richard M. Thatcher, of counsel), for respondents.

Robert W. Winsor, Howard P. Pruzan, and Marvin B. Durning, for intervenor.

Benjamin S. Asia, Philip L. Burton, Sam L. Levinson, Solie M. Ringold, Toru Sakahara, Leonard W. Schroeter, Charles Z. Smith, David J. Smith, Fredric C. Tausend, Garvin, Ashley & Foster, Paul P. Ashley, Wilbur J. Lawrence, and Byron D. Coney, amici curiae.

* Reported in 365 P. (2d) 1.

[1] See Ann. 14 A. L. R. (2d) 157; Am. Jur., Civil Rights, § 8.

794 O"MEARA v. BD. AGAINST DISCRIM. [58 Wn. (2d)

FOSTER, J. –

This is an appeal by the Washington State Board Against Discrimination from a final judgment holding null and void an

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