Roberts v. United States Jaycees
In Roberts v. United States Jaycees, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Minnesota law that forced a private organization to accept women as members. Justice William Rehnquist concurred without an opinion, while Justice Sandra Day O'Connor concurred with a lengthy opinion.
The decision is significant in rejecting an argument of freedom of association by the private organization. Justice Brennan, writing for the Court, explained that there are two distinct types of "freedom of association" recognized by the Constitution:
- Our decisions have referred to constitutionally protected "freedom of association" in two distinct senses. In one line of decisions, the Court has concluded that choices to enter into and maintain certain intimate human relationships must be secured against undue intrusion by the State because of the role of such relationships in safeguarding the individual freedom that is central to our constitutional scheme. In this respect, freedom of association receives protection as a fundamental element of personal liberty. In another set of decisions, the Court has recognized a right to associate for the purpose of engaging in those activities protected by the First Amendment -- speech, assembly, petition for the redress of grievances, and the exercise of religion. The Constitution guarantees freedom of association of this kind as an indispensable means of preserving other individual liberties.
- The intrinsic and instrumental features of constitutionally protected association may, of course, coincide. In particular, when the State interferes with individuals' selection of those with whom they wish to join in a common endeavor, freedom of association in both of its forms may be implicated. The Jaycees contend that this is such a case. Still, the nature and degree of constitutional protection afforded freedom of association may vary depending on the extent to which one or the other aspect of the constitutionally protected liberty is at stake in a given case. We therefore find it useful to consider separately the effect of applying the Minnesota statute to the Jaycees on what could be called its members' freedom of intimate association and their freedom of expressive association.
Roberts v. United States Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609, 617-18, 104 S. Ct. 3244, 3249-50 (1984)