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African Americans: Equality & Law- Weapon or Tool?

United States v. Stanley (The Civil Rights Cases)

We've had an opportunity to look at the 13th and 14th Amendments in class and we have a pretty good idea of what the Amendments were meant to do (at least on their face). Because the writing in this decision is a bit dense and hard to decipher, I only want you to read through the case and try to follow the flow of the arguments made by the plaintiffs and how the Supreme Court responds. I will unpack the arguments and put things in historical context during our class.

By way of background, the plaintiffs in this case are African Americans who filed lawsuits in five seperate courts. They sued theaters, hotels, and tranit companies that refused to admit them into places there were for "whites only." A new las had recently been passed called the Civil Rights Act of 1875, and it stated tht everyone was entitled to access to accomodations, public transportation and theaters regardless of race or color.

Remember when I said that section 2 of the 13th Amendment and Section 5 of the 14th Amendment would become important later? Part of this case involves whether Congress had the authority to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1875. See if you can figure out how the plaintiffs justified the Act and what the Court made of those arguments.