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historypaperFINAL - History110 ProfessorAronoff...

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History 110 Professor Aronoff October 30, 2009 The Slaughterhouse Cases (1873) The Slaughterhouse Cases (1873) was the Supreme Courts first major interpretation of  the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. New Orleans in the 1800’s had problems with animal entrails, dung, blood, and urine  entering the drinking water because of the way butchers slaughtered animals and disposed of  their remains. The Mississippi River brought the contaminated water into the city but the city  could not regulate butchering practices because many of the slaughterhouses were outside the  city limits. A New Orleans grand jury recommended the slaughterhouses be moved south but the  decision carried no weight on slaughterhouses outside the city. They appealed to the state  legislature and in 1869, the Louisiana state legislate passed a law granting the Crescent City  Livestock Landing & Slaughterhouse Company the exclusive right to slaughter animals in the  city and surrounding area- other private slaughterhouses were required to close. Independent  butchers could use the facilities for a charge but could not operate independently. The state  believed the law would improve sanitation, the quality of the facility, and the volume of output 
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because the company agreed to comply with regulations in exchange for exclusive operating  rights. A group of local butchers sued the state of Louisiana arguing that the law was in violation  of the Fourteenth Amendment, specifically the privileges and immunities clause. Section one of  the Fourteen Amendment says,  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction  thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make  or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United  States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of  law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws .”  They believed they were being denied the privilege of operating slaughterhouse  companies, which prevented them from making a living. The state court ruled in favor of the  Crescent City Livestock Landing & Slaughterhouse Company/The State of Louisiana, and the  butchers appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
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