In the Parrott ruling, a U.S. district court in California prohibited the application of a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited the employment of Chinese persons in the state.
In 1880, section 19 of the new California constitution prohibited the employment of “any Chinese or Mongolian,” and it also authorized the legislature to enact laws to this effect. Irish teamster Dennis Kearney held large rallies to promote anti-Chinese sentiments, and a resulting criminal statute made the employment of Chinese a misdemeanor. The president of a silver mining company, Tiburcio Parrott, believing the law was unconstitutional, refused to discharge his Chinese employees. Arrested and charged, he petitioned a U.S. district court for a writ of habeas corpus, which was granted.
Two district judges, Ogden Hoffman and Lorenso Sawyer, held that both the constitutional provision and the statute were inconsistent with rights guaranteed in the
Kens, Paul. “Civil Liberties, Chinese Laborers, and Corporations.” In Law in the Western United States, edited by Gordon M. Bakken. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000. McClain, Charles J. In Search of Equality: The Chinese Struggle Against Discrimination in Nineteenth-Century America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.
Burlingame Treaty of 1868
Supreme Court, U.S.