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Case Basics
The Civil Rights Cases
Location: Congress
Facts of the Case 

The Civil Rights Act of 1875 affirmed the equality of all persons in the enjoyment of transportation facilities, in hotels and inns, and in theaters and places of public amusement. Though privately owned, these businesses were like public utilities, exercising public functions for the benefit of the public and, thus, subject to public regulation. In five separate cases, a black person was denied the same accommodations as a white person in violation of the 1875 Act.


Does the Civil Rights Act of 1875 violate the 10th Amendment of the Constitution which reserves all powers not granted to the national government to the states or to the people?

Decision: 8 votes for , 1 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Civil Rights Act of 1875; US Const. Amend 13 and 14

The Fourteenth Amendment restrains only state action. And the fifth section of the Amendment empowers Congress only to enforce the prohibition on state action. The amendment did not authorize national legislation on subjects which are within the domain of the state. Private acts of racial discrimination were simply private wrongs that the national government was powerless to correct.

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THE CIVIL RIGHTS CASES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 30 August 2015. <>.
THE CIVIL RIGHTS CASES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 30, 2015).
"THE CIVIL RIGHTS CASES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 30, 2015,