Williamson v. Lee Optical Co., 348 U.S. 483 (1955) p.481
Substantive due process
The District Court held unconstitutional several sections of an Oklahoma law of 1953. First, it held invalid under the due proces clause the portions of the section which make it unlawful for any person to fit lenses to a face or to duplicate or replace into frames lenses or other optical appliances, except upon written prescriptive authority from an Oklahoma licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist.
Whether the Oklahoma statute is unconstitutional.
Although the legislature was dealing with a matter of public interest, the particular means chosen are neither reasonably necessary nore reasonably related to the ends sought. We see no constitutional reason why a a state may not treat all who deal with the human eye as members of a profession who should use no merchandising methods for obtaining customers.
The legislature may have concluded that eye examinations were so critical, not only for correction of vision, but also for detection of latent ailments or diseases, that every change in frames and every duplication of a lens should be accompanied by a prescription from a medical expert. It is enough that there is an evil at hand for correction, and that the legislative measure was a rational way to correct it.
Famous footnote: it is unnecessary to consider now whether legislation which restricts those political processes, is to be subjected to more exacting judicial scrutiny under the general prohibitions of the 14th Amendment than are most other types of legislation. Whether prejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special provision.
Created on: Wednesday, October 27, 1999 at 16:15:22 (PDT)