Civil Rights Act Of 1875 Declared Unconstitutional

1883

The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which makes it a crime for the operators of hotels, theaters, and other public accommodations to discriminate on the basis of race. The Court holds that Congress does not have the power to enact this broad ban on the actions of a private person or business. The law cannot be justified under the Thirteenth Amendment because the amendment only bars slavery and involuntary servitude. The Court reasons that refusing to allow blacks to use hotels, restaurants, or other public accommodations is not a “badge of slavery.”