Saturday, December 7, 2013

Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co. case brief

Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co. case brief summary
392 U.S. 409 (1968)

Petitioners challenged a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that affirmed the grant of respondents' motion to dismiss on the ground that 42 U.S.C.S. § 1982 did not apply when respondents, private individuals, refused to sell a home to petitioner based on his race.

Respondents refused to sell petitioner a home because he was black. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C.S. § 1982, petitioners initiated action. The court of appeals affirmed the grant of respondents' motion to dismiss because § 1982 only applied to state action and did not bar private individuals from refusing to sell based on race.

  • The Court reversed the judgment because § 1982 barred all racial discrimination by private owners and public authorities in the sale or rental of property. 
  • The plain language of the statute granted to all citizens the same rights to purchase property as enjoyed by white citizens. 
  • The Court was unwilling to read into § 1982an exception for private conduct when the legislative history did not furnish the slightest factual basis for an exception. 
  • Pursuant to the Thirteenth Amendment, Congress had the power to draft effective legislation, such as § 1982, to eradicate the badges of slavery.

The Court reversed the decision affirming the grant of respondents' motion to dismiss because the statute barred all racial discrimination in the sale of property by private individuals and public authorities. The statute's legislative history established that Congress intended to prohibit all racially motivated refusals to sell.

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