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Although Warth v. Seldin is carefully cast in procedural terms, its significance is substantive. The real meaning of the decision is that the U.S. Supreme Court is not prepared to read into the federal constitution a limitation on suburban zoning power like that which the New Jersey Supreme Court read into the state constitution in Mt. Laurel. Warth is, thus, the Court’s most recent rebuff of the varied efforts to use the fourteenth amendment as a weapon against the inegalitarian consequences of metropolitan fragmentation. Those who see in the vague language of that amendment a remedy for every social ill are sure to condemn the Court’s passivity in the face of that malady. Yet, there is, as Paul Freund once wrote, “a morality of morality.” The mere existence of a social ill does not authorize the courts to prescribe the cure.


This is an author-accepted manuscript reproduced with permission of Taylor and Francis. The publisher's version can be accessed at Sandalow, Terrance. "Comment on Warth v. Seldin." Land Use L. & Zoning Dig. 27 (1975). DOI:

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