In 1980, the Cleburne Living Center (Center) (plaintiff) filed an application for a special use permit with the City of Cleburne, Texas (City) (defendant). The Center sought a permit to build a residential facility for mentally disabled men and women. The facility would house up to thirteen persons, who would be supervised at all times. The City denied the permit application, and the Center brought suit in federal district court challenging the denial. The district court upheld the denial. The court of appeals reversed, finding that the mentally disabled were a quasi-suspect class of persons and thus intermediate scrutiny should be applied to the City’s denial of the permit application. It invalidated the denial as not furthering an important government purpose. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.