Truax v. Raich Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Holding that a law restricting employment of noncitizens was unconstitutional, the Truax v. Raich decision explicitly held that the equal protection clause protected their equal right to earn a livelihood in the common occupations of the state.

In early 1914, the Arizona legislature enacted a law requiring that at least 80 percent of the employees of every business operating within the state had to be American citizens. At the time, Raich, MikeMike Raich, an Austrian citizen who was a legally admitted alien, was working as a cook in a Bisbee, Arizona, restaurant. His employer, William Truax, discharged him solely because of the penalties that could be incurred under the new law. Filing suit in a U.S. district court, Raich asserted that the law denied him the equal protection of the law and was therefore contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment.[a]Fourteenth Amendment;equal protection clause[c]Truax v. RaichArizona;Truax v. RaichNoncitizens;rights of[a]Fourteenth Amendment;equal protection clause[c]Truax v. RaichArizona;Truax v. RaichNoncitizens;rightsof[cat]COURT CASES;Truax v. Raich

By an 8-1 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Raich’s challenge. In unambiguous language, Justice Hughes, Charles EvansCharles Evans Hughes wrote that the “right to work for a living in the common occupations of the community is of the very essence of the personal freedom and opportunity that it was the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment to secure.” The Arizona statute, moreover, violated the principles of federalism. Because the power to admit or exclude aliens was vested exclusively in Congress, the states “may not deprive aliens so admitted of the right to earn a livelihood, as that would be tantamount to denying their entrance and abode.”[a]Fourteenth Amendment;equal protection clause[c]Truax v. RaichArizona;Truax v. RaichNoncitizens;rights of

Further Reading
  • Aleinikoff, Thomas A., et al. Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy. 6th ed. St. Paul, Minn.: Thomson/West, 2008.
  • Epstein, Lee, and Thomas Walker. Constitutional Law for a Changing America: Rights, Liberties, and Justice. 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2006.

Citizenship

History of immigration after 1891

Supreme Court, U.S.

Terrace v. Thompson

Categories: History Content