This is an extract of our The Reconstruction Amendments State Action Congressional Power To Enforce Civil Rights document, which we sell as part of our Constitutional Law Outlines collection written by the top tier of Oklahoma City University School Of Law students.
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The Reconstruction Amendments: State Action &
Congressional Power to Enforce Civil Rights Section 1. The Civil Rights Statutes of the Reconstruction Era 1) 1866 Act 13th Amend. Ratified in 1865 gave const. support to the Emancipation Proclamation and to help enforce this congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 "all persons born in the U.S." "are citizens of U.S" and it lists certain rights of "such citizens, of every race & color, w/o regard to any prev. condition of slavery" This was applied to the states through the 14 th Amend in 1868 2) 1870 Act In 1870 the 15th Amend was ratified, prohibiting denial of the franchise (voting rights) "on account of race, color, or prev. condition of slavery" 1870 Enforcement Act dealt primarily w/ state denials of voting rights Section 6 went further: it provided criminal sanctions for private conspiracies to violate federal rights
3) 1871 & 1875 Acts Civil Rights Act of 1871 (Ku Klux Klan Act) established civil liabilities together w/ parallel criminal liabilities Civil Rights Act of 1875, contained "public accommodations' and was held unconstitutional as exceeding Congress's power in the 1883 Civil Rights Cases.
4) Civil Rights Laws that Survive a. Criminal Provisions 18 U.S.C. 241 "conspiracy against rights" 18 U.S.C. 242 "Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law" b. Civil Provisions
42 U.S.C. 1981 "Equal Rights Under Law" 42 U.S.C. 1982 "Property Rights of Citizens" 42 U.S.C. 1983 "Civil Action for Deprivation of Rights" 42 U.S.C. 1985 "Conspiracy to Interfere w/ Civil Rights"
Section 2. The Requirement of State Action Basic Question: Can we call it state action even if we have a private party acting?
Can they be characterized as a state actor?
Public Function Theory: Things characteristically done by the state (punishment & imprisonment of criminals) Nexus Theory: Where have private & public acting to some degree together Test: ask if the action is a power traditionally & exclusively reserved to the state
Civil Rights Cases (1883) STYLE Issue: Was it w/in Congress's power to pass Section 1 & 2 of the Civil Rights Act of 1875?
No, cause the 14th Amendment prohibits certain state action of discrimination not private action Here were trying to say couldn't reach private actors at all (but this will change) The 13th Amend: Abolishing Slavery Legislation may be primary & direct & is not directed only at State Actors It is not remedial
It allows Congress to abolish slavery as to ALL ACTORS. No state action required but it must still be appropriate legislation &
actually have to do with the prohibition on slavery Cannot have legislation which gives a badge of slavery Harlan Dissent: Modern View: 13th Amend should cover all types of racial discrim & that all are related to slavery badge Comes up with the "public function" Quasi-public, license from the state, individuals operating these things should be subject to 13th Amend Says these individuals are acting as agents or instrumentalities of the state As to the 14th Amend- says wrongly interpreted & should be construed as giving broad power & not require state action Power to Enforce? 2 Arguments: (1) Necessary & Proper (2) Remedial Only Marsh v. Alabama limited to facts, doesn't cover shopping malls Town wholly owned by a corporation which restricts freedom of speech & arrested Jehovah Witness for religious speech Argument was it was privately owned so not state but was ruled unconstitutional cause TOWN took on the "public function" Evans v. Newton White-only park from a will but the trustee was the City of Macon Ct. said park was for the public- like a police or fire dept unlike social clubs The predominate character and purpose of the park was municipal in nature and so could be considered state action White Primary Cases
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