429 U.S. 964 (1976), 76-318, Bykofsky v. Boroough of Middletown

Docket Nº:No. 76-318
Citation:429 U.S. 964, 97 S.Ct. 394, 50 L.Ed.2d 333
Party Name:Jo Ann BYKOFSKY, etc., et al. v. The BOROUGH OF MIDDLETOWN et al
Case Date:November 15, 1976
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 964

429 U.S. 964 (1976)

97 S.Ct. 394, 50 L.Ed.2d 333

Jo Ann BYKOFSKY, etc., et al.



No. 76-318

United States Supreme Court.

November 15, 1976


[97 S.Ct. 395] On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Mr. Justice MARSHALL, with whom Mr. Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting.

Petitioners challenge the constitutionality of an ordinance establishing a nonemergency curfew for juveniles in Middletown, Pa., a rural community with a population of about 10,000. That ordinance makes it unlawful, except in limited circumstances, for minors to be on the streets during specified hours, and for parents knowingly or "by inefficient control" to allow their children to do so.

The freedom to leave one's house and move about at will is "of the very essence of a scheme of ordered liberty," Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325, 58 S.Ct. 149, 82 L.Ed. 288 (1937), and hence is protected against state intrusions by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See, e. g., Papachristou v. Jacksonville, 405 U.S. 156, 92 S.Ct. 839, 31 L.Ed.2d 110 (1972); Coates v. City of Cincinnati,

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402 U.S. 611, 91 S.Ct. 1686, 29 L.Ed.2d 214 (1971); Hague v. CIO, 307 U.S. 496, 515, 59 S.Ct. 954, 83 L.Ed. 1423 (1939). To justify a law that significantly intrudes on this freedom, therefore, a State must demonstrate that the law is "narrowly drawn" to further a "compelling state interest." Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 155-156, 93 S.Ct. 705, 32 L.Ed.2d 147 (1973). For this reason, I have little doubt but that, absent a genuine emergency, see e. g., United States v. Chalk, 441 F.2d 1277 (C.A.4 1971), a curfew aimed at all citizens could not survive constitutional scrutiny. This is true even though such a general curfew, like the instant ordinance, would protect those subject to it from injury and prevent them from causing "nocturnal mischief."

The question squarely presented by this case, then, is whether the due process rights of juveniles are entitled to lesser protection than those of adults. 1 The prior decisions of this Court provide no clear answer. We have recognized that, "Constitutional rights do not mature and come into being magically only when one attains the state defined age of majority. Minors, as well as...

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