Gabree v. King

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Gabree v. King, 614 F.2d 1, (1st Cir. 1980), the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to reject nineteen year old Allen T. Gabree's challenge to a law (Mass.Gen.Laws c. 138, 34A) which inflicted criminal penalties for the purchase or consumption of alcohol by persons under the age of twenty.

Allen T. Gabree, a nineteen year old citizen of Massachusetts, challenged this law, on the basis of "equal protection" provided in the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court held that "In order to warrant searching "equal protection" scrutiny of the age classification drawn here, appellant must establish that it "burdens a suspect group or a fundamental interest."

The United States Supreme Court defined a suspect group as one, "saddled with such disabilities, or subjected to such a history of purposeful unequal treatment, or relegated to such a position of political powerlessness as to command extraordinary protection from the majoritarian political process."[1]

Resolving that nineteen year olds did not meet the definition of a suspect group, the Court concluded that: "Massachusetts' raised "drinking age" does not offend principles of equal protection."


  1. San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez