Best Answer

The Civil Rights Cases, 109 US 3 (1883)

Between 1866 and 1875, Congress passed several civil rights acts to implement the 13th and 14th Amendments during Reconstruction. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was the most controversial because it imposed criminal penalties against businesses that discriminated on the basis of race. Many (white) people opposed to Reconstruction thought the Act infringed on their personal right of free association and "freedom of choice."

When federal troops withdrew from the South in 1879, the Reconstruction Period officially came to a close. Southern states immediately began passing "Black Codes," local legislation that was designed to restrict the labor and freedom of African-Americans, and to ensure separation between the races.

The Civil Rights Cases consolidated five cases on appeal from Circuit courts around the United States (see list) involving federal and constitutional law, and were brought before the Court during the 1882 Term (they were decided early in the 1883 Term). These cases raised the question of whether the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause could be applied to private citizens.

In an 8-1 vote, the Supreme Court ruled the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was unconstitutional because neither the 13th nor 14th Amendments empowered Congress to legislate behavior in the private sector. The Court believed these Amendments were only to be extended to the States.

By striking down civil rights legislation, the Court gave private citizens and businesses tacit permission to engage in overt acts of discrimination, and laid the groundwork for the "separate but equal" doctrine established in Plessy v. Ferguson,(1896).


United States v. Stanley (Kansas)

United States v. Ryan (California)

United States v. Nichols (Missouri)

United States v. Singleton (New York)

Robinson and Wife v. Memphis & Charleston Railroad Co.

Solicitor General Phillips represented the United States; the defendants were not represented.

Justice John Marshall Harlan was the lone dissenter in the Civil Rights Cases, (1883), and also in Plessy v. Ferguson, (1896). According to Justice Harlan: "The Constitution is color-blind: it neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens."

For more information, see Related Questions, below.

User Avatar

Wiki User

14y ago
This answer is:
User Avatar

Add your answer:

Earn +20 pts
Q: What were the US Supreme Court Civil Rights Cases 1883?
Write your answer...
Still have questions?
magnify glass
Related questions

Which of these Supreme Court cases was an important part of the Civil Rights Movement?

brown v. board of education

What was the effect of the civil rights decisions of the supreme court under chief justice earl warren?

Chief justice Earl Warren had seen a number of cases during his time in the supreme court. His most notable though was his ruling on civil rights cases, which ended segregation in the school systems.

Does Texas have a Supreme Court for civil cases and a Supreme Court for criminal cases?

Yes. Texas has two "supreme courts," although only one carries that name. The Supreme Court of Texas is the highest appellate court for civil and juvenile cases, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest appellate court for criminal cases.

How did the supreme court rulings in 1883 work against the civil rights of 1875?

The Supreme Court rulings said civil rights were decided by state and local law.

How did the Supreme Court rules in 1883 worked against the civil rights act of 1875?

The Supreme Court rulings said civil rights were decided by state and local law.

The constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court have not always recognized that all American have civil rights.?

The Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court have not always recognized that all Americans have civil rights.

What type of court is Georgia's Supreme Court?

Georgia's Supreme Court is the state's highest appellatecourt for both civil and criminal cases.

What are the two Supreme Courts in Texas called?

Texas has two final appellate courts: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest appellate court for criminal cases; the Supreme Court of Texas is the highest court for juvenile and civil cases.

Does Scotland have a Supreme Court?

Yes, Scotland has its own Supreme Court called the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. It is the highest court of appeal for civil cases in Scotland, separate from the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Name two kinds of cases that the Texas Supreme Court deals with?

Civil and juvenile cases

Supreme court cases of 1901 that determined that the US Constitution and bill of rights?

Insular cases

What is the lower court verdict for civil rights cases?