Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States

1964

In Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, the Supreme Court upholds the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination against customers in public places on the basis of race. The owner of the Heart of Atlanta Motel argues that the law infringes on his Fourteenth Amendment rights, saying that the requirement to serve black customers is tantamount to indentured servitude. The Court finds that, because the business depends mostly on customers traveling from other states, it falls within the jurisdiction of Congress and the commerce clause, and is therefore subject to the law established by the Civil Rights Act. The Court will also uphold the ruling in Katzenbach v. McClung, in which a small restaurant is ordered to change its discriminatory policies.