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Laurel Hill Cemetery v. San Francisco, 216 U.S. 358 (1910)

Laurel Hill Cemetery v. City and County of San Francisco

No. 100

Argued January 21, 24, 1910

Decided February 21, 1910

216 U.S. 358


Great caution must be exercised by any tribunal in overruling, or allowing to be overruled, the decision of the local authorities on question involving the health of the neighborhood, and this Court is doubly reluctant to interfere with deliberate decision of the highest court of a state confirming a specific determination on such a question previously reached by the body making the law.

Where opinion is divided as to whether a practice prohibited by a police ordinance is dangerous, and if the ordinance be valid if the danger be real, this Court will not overthrow the ordinance as an unconstitutional deprivation of property without due process of law or a denial of equal protection of the law merely because of adherence to the other belief. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11.

One not belonging to a class cannot raise the question of constitutionality of a statute as it affect that class.

Tradition and habits of the community count for more than logic in determining constitutionality of laws enacted for the public welfare under the police power.

An ordinance prohibiting burial of the dead within the limit of a populous city based on a determination of the city authorities that the practice is dangerous to life and detrimental to public health, and which has been sustained by the highest court of the state, will not be overthrown by this Court as an unconstitutional exertion of the police power of the state, and so held a to such an ordinance of San Francisco, California.

152 Cal. 464 affirmed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 216 U. S. 363

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