The Civil Rights Cases: United States v. Stanley
SCOTUS - 1883
- The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1875 and stated that its purpose was to protect all citizens in their civil and legal rights.
- Two of the cases were against Stanley and Nichols who refused accommodations because of race.
- Two of the cases were against Ryan and Singleton who refused to seat someone in a theatre because of race.
- SCOTUS held the Civil Rights Act unconstitutional.
- Is the Civil Rights Act an unconstitutional application of the Constitution to private action?
- What is required by the 14th amendment?
- The Civil Rights Act is an unconstitutional application of the Constitution to private action.
- The 14th amendment only gives Congress the power to pass laws to enforce the prohibition of state action of a particular character.
- Individual invasion of individual rights is not the subject-matter of the amendment.
- The last section of the amendment invests in Congress the power to enforce it by appropriate legislation.
- It is only the power to enforce the prohibition of state action, not individual action.
- To adopt legislation for correcting the effects of such prohibited state law and state acts and render them null and void.
- It does not invest in Congress the power to legislate upon subjects which are within the domain of state legislation.
- It does not authorize Congress to create a code of law for the regulation of private rights.
- Until some state law has been passed adverse to the rights of citizens sought to be protected by the amendment, no legislation of Congress under the amendment can be called into activity.
- If this law is appropriate legislation for enforcing the prohibitions of the amendment, it is difficult to see where it is to stop (slippery slope).
- The substance and spirit of the recent amendments have been sacrificed by a subtle and ingenious verbal criticism.
- The court has departed from the familiar rule requiring that full effect be given to the intent with which constitutional provisions were adopted.
- Exceptions to the rule that the Con applies only to the state…
- Thirteenth amendment ban on slavery
- Statutes can apply constitutional norms to private conduct (hook through commerce clause, etc.)
- There are exceptions to the state action requirement, situations where private conduct has to comply with the Con…
- Public functions exception - a private entity must comply with the Con if it is performing a task that has been traditionally, exclusively done by the gov't.
- Entanglement exception - private conduct must comply with the Con if the gov't has authorized, encouraged, or facilitated the unconstitutional conduct.