Houser v. State
Supreme Court of Washington
540 P.2d 412 (1975)
Charles Houser, III (plaintiff) brought a declaratory judgment action against various Washington State agencies (the State) (defendant) to have the underage drinking law, which established the minimum drinking-age as twenty-one, declared unconstitutional. Houser asserted that the law deprived himself and other eighteen-to-twenty year olds in Washington state of equal protection under the law because there was no rational relationship between restricting the right of adults aged eighteen to twenty to possess and consume alcohol and a legitimate state purpose. To support this argument, Houser submitted to the court an expert statement refuting the traditional arguments for setting the minimum drinking age at twenty-one. The State moved for summary judgment and asked the court to take judicial notice of two technical studies that supported the twenty-one year old drinking-age restriction and a federal case, Republican College Council v. Winner, 357 F. Supp. 739 (1973), which held that Pennsylvania’s underage drinking law did not violate equal protection. Relying on these technical studies and Republican College Council, the district court granted the State’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the studies and Republican College Council were sufficient for the court to determine that there was a rational relationship between the drinking age and a legitimate state purpose. Houser appealed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the Washington Supreme Court, claiming that the trial court should not have taken judicial notice of the studies because they were not “well established and authoritatively settled.” Houser also argued that the court should not have granted summary judgment without a trial on the merits to resolve disputed factual issues.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Utter, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 724,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 724,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.