• Last updated on November 11, 2022

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court upheld the public accommodations section of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and enjoined a motel from refusing to serve African Americans.

An Atlanta motel owner, whose clientele was largely interstate travelers, refused to rent rooms to African Americans as required by Title II, the public accommodations provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The owner argued that Congress had exceeded its power to regulate private business under the commerce clause. The Supreme Court unanimously held that the services rendered to guests at the motel were a part of interstate commerce and therefore could be properly regulated by Congress. Justice Tom C. ClarkClark, Tom C.;Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States[Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States] wrote the unanimous decision upholding the validity of the public accommodations provision. Justices Hugo L. Black, William O. Douglas, and Arthur J. Goldberg wrote separate concurrences.Civil Rights Act of 1964African Americans;public accommodations[public accommodations]Desegregation;Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States[Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States]Civil Rights Act of 1964African Americans;public accommodations[public accommodations]

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Civil Rights Acts

Commerce, regulation of

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