Constitutional Law II

State Action Doctrine

If a private organization performs municipal functions (like a company town), it is treated as a state action and thus cannot discriminate on the basis of religion.

  • Utility companies are not included in this.
  • Shopping centers have been treated as state actors and have been required to not prohibit people's free exercise of religion therein.
  • This includes organizations with an "inextricable entanglement" of government and private actors, like with a parking garage or restaurant or athletic association.

Enforcing restrictive covenants made between private parties is government action and thus prohibited by the state action doctrine.

The political process doctrine falls under the state action doctrine.