Landmark Arlington Heights case cited in Trump travel ban decision

Updated 2/10/2017 4:33 PM

A federal appeals court's decision against reinstating President Donald Trump's travel ban included a reference to a landmark 1977 Supreme Court case involving Arlington Heights.

As part of a 29-page decision issued Thursday, judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp., saying that government officials' prior statements, circumstantial evidence of intent, and the historical background of a decision can be taken into consideration when determining whether discrimination was intended.


In the case of the travel ban, lawyers for Washington state and Minnesota who sued the White House noted previous statements by Trump about his intent to implement a "Muslim ban" and argued that Trump's executive order was in fact intended to be that ban.

The appeals court voted 3-0 to uphold a lower court's decision suspending the executive order preventing travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S.

In the 40-year-old Arlington Heights case, the developer sued the village after officials denied a zoning change that would have allowed low-income townhouses on a Euclid Avenue site owned by the order of St. Viator. The high court eventually ruled in the village's favor, saying officials had not racially discriminated.

"The court in the Arlington Heights case said there was no evidence there was anything discriminatory," said Robin Ward, the village's in-house counsel. "Arlington Heights came out the other way."

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The Euclid Avenue property in question was zoned for single-family housing, and village zoning rules dictated that multifamily housing was meant only for transition areas between single-family and commercial sites.

The Linden Place apartments were eventually built in another part of town, north of Golf Road near Goebbert Road.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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