would again attempt to pass legislation outlawing such discrimination. Meanwhile, indi- viduals were free to discriminate. The white-dominated political culture of the South, and to some degree the rest of the country, fully supported such discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a far-reaching, even visionary piece of legislation, and it remains the foundation of national policy on the rights of minorities. The act’s most im- portant and controversial section, Title II, prohibited racial discrimination in places of pub- lic accommodation that affected interstate commerce, including restaurants, stadiums, the- aters, and motels or hotels with more than five rooms. In adopting Title II, Congress relied on its broad constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce (Art. I, § 8) as well as its enforcement powers under the Fourteenth Amendment. In upholding Title II, the Supreme Court gave its blessing to a broad extension of federal power to regulate virtually any busi- ness in the country. 37 As a result, African-Americans found restaurants, motels, and hotels throughout the South available for the first time. In addition, stores removed the “Colored” and “White” designations from their drinking fountains and rest rooms. Without question, the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had an immediate im- pact on people’s lives, especially in the South. The 1964 Civil Rights Act did more than ensure equal access to restaurants and hotels. Title VII prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national ori- gin (later amended to include sex discrimination as well). Title VII made it unlawful for em- ployers to intentionally discriminate in hiring, firing, or setting levels of compensation by adopting employment practices that are not racially neutral. It also prohibited employment CHAPTER 11 Legislation 371 C A S E I N P O I N T C ONGRESS O UTLAWS R ACIAL D ISCRIMINATION IN P LACES OF P UBLIC A CCOMMODATION Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States United States Supreme Court 379 U.S. 241, 85 S.Ct. 348, 13 L.Ed.2d 258 (1964) In order to perpetuate their policy of refusing to accom- modate black customers, owners of the Heart of Atlanta Motel, located on Courtland Street in downtown Atlanta, brought suit attacking the constitutionality of Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Even though approximately 75 per- cent of the guests at the motel were from other states,the owners claimed that Title II could not constitutionally be applied to their establishment.In a unanimous decision,the Supreme Court ruled that the racially restrictive practices of the Heart of Atlanta Motel could impede commerce among the states and could therefore be appropriately regulated by Congress.The Court noted that in enacting Title II,“Congress was also dealing with what it considered to be a moral problem.But that fact does not detract from the overwhelming evidence of the disruptive effect that racial discrimination has had on commercial intercourse.”
practices that have a disparate impact
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