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Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees

Never Say Die

The department examiner did rule against the national board, classifying the Jaycees organization as a "place of public accommodation" within the meaning of Minnesota's Human Rights Act. Therefore, excluding women was an unfair discriminatory practice. The Jaycees renewed its suit before the district court, which then referred the question to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Having already ruled in 1981 that the state human rights act could be applied to any "public business facility," the state supreme court also determined that the Jaycees "(a) is a `business' in that it sells goods and extends privileges in exchange for annual membership dues; (b) is a `public' business based on its unselective criteria; and (c) is a public business `facility' in that it conducts its activities in fixed and mobile sites within the state of Minnesota."

The national Jaycees then amended its district court complaint to add the charge that the act, as interpreted by the Minnesota Supreme Court, was unconstitutional and overly broad. The district court upheld the act and that ruling was appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

That court reversed the lower court decision in 1983. The Jaycees' right to determine its membership was protected by the First Amendment freedom of association, since "political and public causes, selected by the membership," is a large part of the Jaycees' reason for being. The court of appeals also held that the Minnesota act was "vague as construed and applied" and therefore in violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees - Significance, Rebellion In The Ranks, Never Say Die, The Supreme Court Decides, Exclusive Clubs And Discrimination