Administrative Discretion.

A municipal ordinance that vests in supervisory authorities a naked and arbitrary power to grant or withhold consent to the operation of laundries in wooden buildings, without consideration of the circumstances of individual cases, constitutes a denial of equal protection of the law when consent is withheld from certain persons solely on the basis of nationality.1634 But a city council may reserve to itself the power to make exceptions from a ban on the operation of a dairy within the city,1635 or from building line restrictions.1636 Written permission of the mayor or president of the city council may be required before any person shall move a building on a street.1637 The mayor may be empowered to determine whether an applicant has a good character and reputation and is a suitable person to receive a license for the sale of cigarettes.1638 In a later case,1639 the Court held that the unfettered discretion of river pilots to select their apprentices, which was almost invariably exercised in favor of their relatives and friends, was not a denial of equal protection to persons not selected despite the fact that such apprenticeship was requisite for appointment as a pilot.


Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886). [Back to text]
Fischer v. St. Louis, 194 U.S. 361 (1904). [Back to text]
Gorieb v. Fox, 274 U.S. 603 (1927). [Back to text]
Wilson v. Eureka City, 173 U.S. 32 (1899). [Back to text]
Gundling v. Chicago, 177 U.S. 183 (1900). [Back to text]
Kotch v. Board of River Port Pilot Comm’rs, 330 U.S. 552 (1947). [Back to text]