Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States

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Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States by Mind Map: Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States

1. Facts:

1.1. 1. The owner of the Heart of Atlanta Motel does not want to serve African American customers.

1.2. 2. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 declared that discrimination based on race in public places is illegal.

1.3. 3. The owner of the hotel, Moreton Rolleston, has filed suit stating that the federal government cannot extend its reach to force him to cater to African American patrons.

2. Issue:

2.1. Mr. Rolleston states three issues supporting the illegality of enforcing the Act

2.1.1. 1. The U.S. Congress has overstepped its authority by using the Commerce Clause governing interstate commerce to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

2.1.2. 2. Mr. Rolleston's fifth amendment rights were violated because he is being denied the ability to choose his own customers, being deprived of property without due process.

2.1.3. 3. Mr. Rolleston's 13th amendment rights were violated because he considered having to serve African American people to be involuntary servitude.

3. Rule:

3.1. The laws governing this case include the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which states that the federal government has jurisdiction over all interstate commerce, the fifth amendment to the Constitution, which states that no person shall lose property without due process of law and the thirteenth amendment, which states that no person shall suffer involuntary servitude.

4. Analysis/Application:

4.1. The first decision is concerning interstate commerce. Does this hotel, which has 75% out of state customers, fall under the commerce clause and therefore under the jurisdiction of the federal government? Or is the U.S. Congress overstepping its authority by interfering with laws that should only be decided by the states themselves?

4.2. The second decision is whether the owner of the hotel is actually experiencing a loss of property because it has African American customers or did the owner's losses simply constitute business incidentals?

4.3. The third decision is whether or not serving a group of customers that you don't want to serve constitutes involuntary servitude. The owner believed that it did, while the United States believed that it did not.

5. Conclusion:

5.1. The court first ruled that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution absolutely covered the motel business. There was no doubt that this was interstate commerce as most of the patrons were out of state residents. This meant that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the governing law.

5.2. The court also ruled that the incidental property loss during normal business with African American patrons did not constitute the loss of property described in the fifth amendment to the Constitution.

5.3. The court also ruled that serving customers that you do not want to serve does not constitute involuntary servitude.

6. Impact:

6.1. 1. Katzenbach v. McClung - The court ruled that a restaurant could not discriminate against African Americans based on the decision in Heart of Altanta.

6.2. 2. U.S. v. Morrison - The court ruled that part of the Violence Against Women Act was unconstitutional because it was an overreach by Congress of the commerce clause.

7. Importance:

7.1. This case is important to a business professional because it defines how federal law can rule private business when dealing with interstate commerce.

8. Influence:

8.1. 1. This ruling greatly affected private discrimination and has influenced business across the country, preventing overt discrimination everywhere.

8.2. 2. This ruling also demonstrated that Congress, in some situations, has the power, over states, to govern business.