GPO-CONAN-2017-10-15.pdf

2207 18 stat 335 1 2 2244 amendment 14rights

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2207 18 Stat. 335, §§ 1, 2. 2244 AMENDMENT 14—RIGHTS GUARANTEED
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ment. The Civil Rights Cases 2208 found this enactment to be be- yond Congress’s power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court observed that § 1 prohibited only state action and did not reach private conduct. Therefore, Congress’s power under § 5 to enforce § 1 by appropriate legislation was held to be similarly limited. “It does not invest Congress with power to legislate upon subjects which are within the domain of State legislation; but to provide modes of relief against State legislation, or State action, of the kind referred to. It does not authorize Congress to create a code of municipal law for the regulation of private rights; but to provide modes of redress against the operation of State laws, and the action of State officers executive or judicial, when these are subversive of the fundamen- tal rights specified in the amendment.” 2209 The holding in this case had already been preceded by United States v. Cruikshank 2210 and by United States v. Harris 2211 in which the Federal Government had prosecuted individuals for killing and injuring African-Americans. The Amendment did not increase the power of the Federal Govern- ment vis-a-vis individuals, the Court held, only with regard to the states themselves. 2212 Cruikshank did, however, recognize a small category of federal rights that Congress could protect against private deprivation, rights that the Court viewed as deriving particularly from one’s status as a citizen of the United States and that Congress had a general po- lice power to protect. 2213 These rights included the right to vote in federal elections, general and primary, 2214 the right to federal pro- tection while in the custody of federal officers, 2215 and the right to 2208 109 U.S. 3 (1883). The Court also rejected the Thirteenth Amendment foun- dation for the statute, a foundation revived by Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 (1968). 2209 109 U.S. at 11. Justice Harlan’s dissent reasoned that Congress had the power to protect rights secured by the Fourteenth Amendment against invasion by both state and private action, but also viewed places of public accommodation as serving a quasi-public function that satisfied the state action requirement in any event. Id. at 46–48, 56–57. 2210 92 U.S. 542 (1876). The action was pursuant to § 6 of the 1870 Enforce- ment Act, ch. 114, 16 Stat. 140, the predecessor of 18 U.S.C. § 241. 2211 106 U.S. 629 (1883). The case held unconstitutional a provision of § 2 of the 1871 Act, ch. 22, 17 Stat. 13. 2212 See also Baldwin v. Franks, 120 U.S. 678 (1887); Hodges v. United States, 203 U.S. 1 (1906); United States v. Wheeler, 254 U.S. 281 (1920). Under the Fif- teenth Amendment, see James v. Bowman, 190 U.S. 127 (1903). 2213 United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 552–53, 556 (1876). The rights that the Court assumed the United States could protect against private interference were the right to petition Congress for a redress of grievances and the right to vote free of interference on racial grounds in a federal election.
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