Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co.

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Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co.
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided June 17, 1968
Appealed from 8th Circuit
Overturned The Civil Rights Cases


Alfred H. Mayer Co. ("the Company") is a private residential developer. The company refused to sell a home to Jones, an African-American man, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Procedural History

Jones loses in the US federal district court in Missouri.

Jones loses in the Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals held that the law applied to state governmental action. Private discrimination is not subject to government interference even though private discrimination isn't laudable.


SCOTUS must consider if the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits private discrimination on the basis of race in the sale of private property.


The Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits racial discrimination in the sale, lease, or inheritance of private property.

Potter Stewart wrote that the 13th Amendment authorized Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1866.


The Civil Rights Cases (1883) are overturned.


SCOTUS was wrong to invalidate the Civil Rights Act of 1866 in the Civil Rights Cases (1883) , according to Potter Stewart.


Harlan II dissented stating that the historical context of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 made it clear that the Act was intended to prohibit state-sanctioned racial discrimination.