LOCATION: United States Capitol
DOCKET NO.: None
DECIDED BY: Waite Court (1882-1887)
LOWER COURT: Federal district court
ARGUED: Mar 29, 1883
DECIDED: Oct 15, 1883
Samuel Field Phillips – Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the United States
William Y. C. Humes – for the Memphis and Charleston Railroad Co., defendants in error
William M. Randolph – for Robinson and wife, plaintiffs in error
David Posten – for the Memphis and Charleston Railroad Co., defendants in error
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?