• Last updated on November 11, 2022

In this landmark decision, the Supreme Court used the Thirteenth Amendment banning slavery to outlaw racial discrimination in housing.

Jones alleged that the Alfred J. Mayer Company, a private concern, refused to sell him a house because he was black, and he sued under a portion of the 1866 Civil Rights ActCivil Rights Act of 1866 that remained in force (Title 42, section 1982). By a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court upheld section 1982, banning racial discrimination in the sale or rental of housing. The section had not been previously enforced and similar legislation had been overturned in 1883, but the Court ruled the section valid under the Thirteenth Amendment. The question remained as to whether the section applied to a private company, and Justice Potter Stewart,Stewart, Potter;Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co.[Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co.] in his opinion for the Court, argued that it did, although many have questioned his analysis. Justices John M. Harlan II and Byron R. White dissented, maintaining that the majority decision made little sense because it supported a broad public housing act just months after Congress had passed a much narrower law. Jones provided a basis for the later Runyon v. McCrary[case]Runyon v. McCrary[Runyon v. McCrary] (1976) decision, in which the Court held that Title 42, section 1981, applies to private discrimination in contracts.Thirteenth AmendmentDiscrimination, housing;Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co.[Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co.]Thirteenth Amendment

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Fourteenth Amendment

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Thirteenth Amendment

Categories: History