MASS. BOARD OF RETIREMENT v. MURGIA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
74-1044
Appellee 
Murgia
Appellant 
Mass. Board of Retirement
Heard By 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellee)
(Argued the cause for the appellants)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Robert Murgia, although he was in excellent physical and mental health, was forced to retire at age fifty according to state law. Murgia had been a uniformed officer in the state police force. Murgia successfully challenged the mandatory retirement law in district court.

Question 

Did the Massachusetts law violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 7 votes for Mass. Board of Retirement, 1 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

In a per curiam opinion, the Court held that the law did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. The Court found that the right of governmental employment was not per se fundamental, and that uniformed state police officers over 50 did not constitute a suspect class under the Clause. Applying a rational relationship test, the Court reasoned that the statute was sufficiently justified as a means of protecting the public "by assuring physical preparedness of [the] uniformed police." The Court noted that while the law may not have been the best means to accomplish this purpose, it did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment merely because of its imperfections.

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MASS. BOARD OF RETIREMENT v. MURGIA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_1044>.
MASS. BOARD OF RETIREMENT v. MURGIA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_1044 (last visited October 20, 2014).
"MASS. BOARD OF RETIREMENT v. MURGIA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_1044.