Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241, 243, 85 S. Ct. 348, 350, 13 L. Ed. 2...

Get Started. It's Free
or sign up with your email address
Rocket clouds
Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241, 243, 85 S. Ct. 348, 350, 13 L. Ed. 2d 258 (1964) by Mind Map: Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241, 243, 85 S. Ct. 348, 350, 13 L. Ed. 2d 258 (1964)

1. Facts

1.1. Parties

1.1.1. FOR Appellant: Moreton Rolleston, Jr., Atlanta, Ga., for appellant. The Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc:

1.1.1.1. Appellant owns and operates the Heart of Atlanta Motel which has 216 rooms available to transient guests.

1.1.1.2. Briefs of amici curiae, urging reversal, were filed by James W. Kynes, Attorney General of Florida, and Fred M. Burns and Joseph C. Jacobs, Assistant Attorneys General, for the State of Florida; and Robert Y. Button, Attorney General of Virginia, and Frederick T. Gray, Special Assistant Attorney General, for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

1.1.2. FOR United States: Chiefly by Archibald Cox, Sol. Gen.

1.1.2.1. Briefs of amici curiae, urging affirmance, were filed by Thomas C. Lynch, Attorney General of California, Charles E. Corker and Dan Kaufmann, Assistant Attorneys General, and Charles B. McKesson and Jerold L. Perry, Deputy Attorneys General, for the State of California; Edward W. Brooke, Attorney General of Massachusetts, for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and Louis J. Lefkowitz, Attorney General of New York, Samuel A. Hirshowitz, First Assistant Attorney General, and Shirley Adelson Siegel, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of New York.

1.1.3. JUDGES: Warren, Black, Douglas, Clark, Harlan, Brennan, Stewart, White, Goldberg

1.2. The What

1.2.1. The basic constitutional question decided by the courts below and which this Court must now decide is whether Congress exceeded its powers to regulate interstate commerce and pass all laws necessary and proper to such regulation in subjecting either this motel or this restaurant to Title II's commands that applicants for food and lodging be served without regard to their color. And if the regulation is otherwise within the congressional commerce power, the motel and the restaurant proprietors further contend that it would be a denial of due process under the Fifth Amendment to compel them to serve Negroes against their will.

1.3. Procedural History

1.3.1. Congress first evidenced its interest in civil rights legislation in the Civil Rights or Enforcement Act of April 9, 1866. [Footnote 2] There followed four Acts, [Footnote 3] with a fifth, the Civil Rights Act of March 1, 1875, culminating the series. In 1883, this Court struck down the public accommodations sections of the 1875 Act in the Civil Rights Cases, 109 U. S. 3. No major legislation in this field had been enacted by Congress for 82 years when the Civil Rights Act of 1957 became law.

1.3.2. It was followed by the Civil Rights Act of 1960. [Footnote 6] Three years later, on June 19, 1963, the late President Kennedy called for civil rights legislation in a message to Congress to which he attached a proposed bill. Its stated purpose was"to promote the general welfare by eliminating discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin in . . . public accommodations through the exercise by Congress of the powers conferred upon it . . . to enforce the provisions of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to regulate commerce among the several States, and to make laws necessary and proper to execute the powers conferred upon it by the Constitution."

1.3.3. H.R.Doc. No. 124, 88th Cong., 1st Sess., at 14.

1.4. Summary

1.4.1. The corporate owner-operator of a motel which solicited and received patronage from interstate travelers brought suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for declaratory and injunctive relief preventing the Attorney General of the United States from enforcing the public accommodations sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (78 Stat 241), as exceeding the congressional power to regulate commerce, depriving it of liberty and property without due process of law, taking its property without just compensation, and subjecting it to involuntary servitude. The three-judge District Court held the challenged provisions to be constitutional and enjoined the motel owner-operator from discriminating against Negroes on account of race or color.  (231 F Supp 393.) On direct appeal, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed. In an opinion by Clark, J., expressing the views of eight members of the Court, it was held that 201(a)(b)(c)(e) and 203-207 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are constitutional as a proper exercise of the commerce power. Black, J., concurring, stated that the statute as applied was valid under the commerce clause and the necessary and proper clause. Douglas, J., concurring, joined in the Court's opinion but added that he preferred to base the constitutionality of the statute on the power conferred on Congress by 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. Goldberg, J., concurring, joined in the Court's opinion but added that Congress had authority both under the commerce clause and 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to enact the statute. 

2. Issue

2.1. The appellant contends that Congress, in passing this Act, exceeded its power to regulate commerce under Art. I,cl. 3, of the Constitution of the United States; that the Act violates the Fifth Amendment because appellant is deprived of the right to choose its customers and operate its business as it wishes, resulting in a taking of its liberty and property without due process of law and a taking of its property without just compensation; and, finally, that, by requiring appellant to rent available rooms to Negroes against its will, Congress is subjecting it to involuntary servitude in contravention of the Thirteenth Amendment.

3. Rule of Law

3.1. The restaurant is located in a residential and industrial section of Birmingham, 11 blocks from the nearest interstate highway. Almost all, if not all, its patrons are local people rather than transients. It has seats for about 200 customers and annual gross sales of about $350,000. Most of its sales are of barbecued meat sandwiches and pies. Consequently, the main commodity it purchases is meat, of which during the 12 months before the District Court hearing it bought $69,683 worth (representing 46% of its total expenditures for supplies), which had been shipped into Alabama from outside the State. Plainly, 46% of the goods it sells is a ‘substantial’ portion and amount. Congress concluded that restaurants which purchase a substantial quantity of goods from other States might well burden and disrupt the flow of interstate commerce if allowed to practice racial discrimination, because of the stifling and distorting effect that such discrimination on a wide scale might well have on the sale of goods shipped across state lines. Certainly this belief would not be irrational even had there not been a large body of evidence before the Congress to show the probability of this adverse effect.

3.2. Civil Right Law Pertaining to the Issue

3.2.1. Section 201(d) of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 declares that "discrimination or segregation" is supported by state action when carried on under any law, statute, ordinance, regulation or any custom or usage required to enforce by officials of the State or any of its subdivisions.

3.2.1.1. In this case the local police would be required to enforce the illegal (to the state) act of discrimination as employed by the hotel which is in violation of the Civil Rights Act.

3.2.2. THE BIG ONE

3.2.2.1. Section § 202 of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964affirmatively declares that all persons shall be entitled to be free, at anyestablishment or place, from discrimination or segregation of any kind on theground of race, color, religion, or national origin, if such discrimination orsegregation is or purports to be required by any law, statute, ordinance,regulation, rule, or order of a State or any agency or political subdivisionthereof. Finally, § 203 of the Act prohibits the withholding or denial, etc.,of any right or privilege secured by §§ 201, § 202 or the intimidation,threatening or coercion of any person with the purpose of interfering with anysuch right or the punishing, etc., of any person for exercising or attemptingto exercise any such right.

3.2.3. Motels and the Law

3.2.3.1. Congress may--as it has in Title II of the Civil Rights Actof 1964-- prohibit racial discrimination by motels serving travelers, howeverlocal their operations may appear. Nor does the Act deprive the motel owner ofliberty or property under the Fifth Amendment. The commerce power invoked inthe Act by the Congress is a specific and plenary one authorized by theConstitution itself. The only questions are: (1) whether Congress had arational basis for finding that racial discrimination by motels affected commerce,and (2) if it had such a basis, whether the means it selected to eliminate thatevil are reasonable and appropriate.

4. Analysis/Applcation

4.1. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was linked to the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the Commerce Clause in the Constitution.

4.2. This Act is linked to not only motels but also to restaurants and all other establishments open to the public EXCEPT certain private clubs.

4.2.1. (1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence;

4.2.2. (2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment; or any gasoline station;

4.2.3. (3) any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment; and

4.2.4. (4) any establishment (A) (i) which is physically located within the premises of any establishment otherwise covered by this subsection, or (ii) within the premises of which is physically located any such covered establishment, and (B) which holds itself out as serving patrons of such covered establishment.

5. Conclusion

5.1. "TITLE II -- INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION "SEC. 201.  (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

5.1.1. "(1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence;

5.2. The Court affirmed the lower court's judgment.

5.2.1. Hotel must allow people of other races, colors, religions and national origins as defined by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to stay within its hotel, eat at its restaurant, and pursue legal commerce at its location.

6. Impact

6.1. Court Delcares Commerece Clause a legitimate basis for The Title II Civil Rights Act of 1964.

6.2. Court upholds ruling that Appelate is subject to the Civil Rights Act

6.2.1. Motel must serve and allow hotel housing within the property for all people, races, colors, religions, national orgion on the basis of those covered in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

7. Importance

7.1. Sections 201(a)(b)(c)(e) and 203-207 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (78 Stat 241), which forbid discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin in certain places of public accommodation affecting commerce, are not rendered unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment as a deprivation of liberty or property, or as a taking of property without just compensation, by the fact that a motel owner-operator will suffer economic loss as a result.

7.2. A motel owner-operator is not subjected to involuntary servitude in contravention of the Thirteenth Amendment by being required to rent available rooms to Negroes against its will as a result of 201(a)(b)(c)(e) and 203-207 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (78 Stat 241), which forbid discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin in certain places of public accommodation affecting commerce.

7.3. State statutes prohibiting racial discrimination in public accommodations merely codify the common-law innkeeper rule, which long predated the Thirteenth Amendment, and do not violate the Thirteenth Amendment.

7.4. The fact that Congress could have pursued methods other than the adoption of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (78 Stat 241) to eliminate the obstructions in interstate commerce caused by racial discrimination is not a valid argument against the constitutionality of the statute, but is a matter of policy which rests solely with the Congress and not with the courts.

7.5. The question of how obstructions in commerce may be removed, and what means should be employed, is within the sound and exclusive discretion of the Congress, subject only to one caveat--that the means chosen by it must be reasonably adapted to the end permitted by the Federal Constitution.

8. Influence

8.1. "Commerce Clause"

8.2. Fourteenth Amendment

8.3. Bell v. Maryland, 378 U.S. 226, 317, ... the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees to all Americans the constitutional right "to be treated as equal members of the community with respect to public accommodations,"

8.4. See Peterson v. City of Greenville, 373 U.S. 244 (discrimination in restaurant);  Lombard v. Louisiana, 373 U.S. 267 (discrimination in restaurant);  Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, 365 U.S. 715 (discrimination in restaurant);  Watson v. City of Memphis, 373 U.S. 526 (discrimination in city park);  Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (discrimination in public school system);  Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536 (discrimination in voting).

8.5. Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, for the "discrimination" in the present cases is "enforced by officials of the State," i. e., by the state judiciary under the trespass laws

8.6. In determining the reach of an exertion of legislative power, it is customary to read various granted powers together. See Veazie Bank v. Fenno, 8 Wall. 533, 548-549; Edye v. Robertson, 112 U.S. 580, 595-596; United States v. Gettysburg Electric R. Co., 160 U.S. 668, 683. As stated in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 421:

8.7. ...the "right of persons to move freely from State to State" ( Edwards v. California, supra, at 177), "occupies a more protected position in our constitutional system than does the movement of cattle, fruit, steel and coal across state lines."

8.8. Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, decided in 1824 in an opinion by Chief Justice John Marshall, it has been uniformly accepted that the power of Congress to regulate commerce among the States is plenary, "complete in itself, may be exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations, other than are prescribed in the constitution."