Shelley v. Kraemer

PETITIONER:J. D. Shelley and Ethel Lee Shelley et al.
RESPONDENT:Louis Kraemer and Fern Kraemer
LOCATION: The Kraemers’ Property

DOCKET NO.: 72
DECIDED BY: Vinson Court (1946-1949)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Missouri

ARGUED: Jan 15, 1948 / Jan 16, 1948
DECIDED: May 03, 1948

ADVOCATES:
Thurgood Marshall – for the petitioners in No. 87
Charles H. Houston – for the petitioners in Nos. 290 and 291
Gerald L. Seegers – for the respondents in No. 72
George L. Vaughn – for the petitioners in No. 72
Henry Gilligan – for the respondents in No. 87 and the respondents in Nos. 290 and 291
Herman Willer – for the petitioners in No. 72
James A. Crooks – for the respondents in No. 87 and the respondents in Nos. 290 and 291
Loren Miller – for the petitioners in No. 87
Phineas Indritz – for the petitioners in Nos. 290 and 291
Philip B. Perlman – Solicitor General, Department of Justice, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court

Facts of the case

The Kraemers were a white couple who owned a residence in a Missouri neighborhood governed by a restrictive covenant. This was a private agreement that prevented blacks from owning property in the Kraemers’ subdivision. The Shelleys were a black couple who moved into the Kraemers neighborhood. The Kraemers went to court to enforce the restrictive covenant against the Shelleys.

Question

Does the enforcement of a racially restrictive covenant violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment?