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Racial Discrimination in Interstate and Intrastate Transportation Facilities

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Historically, African-Americans have been subjected to racial discrimination throughout society. One of the more problematic areas of racial discrimination involves African-Americans traveling throughout the United States in various interstate and intrastate transportation facilities. Historically, African-Americans were treated as second-class citizens being segregated from traveling with White Americans. Over the years, African-Americans have sought redress of these problems through the federal courts. The seminal case that illustrates this problem is Bailey v. Patterson, 369 U.S. 31 (1962).

In this case, Black Americans were provided segregated services from the White Americans in interstate and intrastate transportation facilities. The Black Americans alleged that providing such segregated services violates the United States Constitution which reads:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The Black Americans alleged that such rights had been denied under color of state statutes, municipal ordinances, and state custom and usage. Based upon the foregoing, their rights of equality under the United States Constitution were violated. This civil rights action was brought in a district court seeking injunctive relief enforcing their civil rights.

The District Court refused to hear the matter stating that Black Americans have no standing to enjoin criminal prosecutions under Mississippi’s breach of peace statutes because they do not allege that that they were prosecuted or threatened with prosecution and since not State may require racial segregation it is foreclosed as a litigable issue. They appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court. The United States Constitution disagreed with the District Court’s position.

The United States Supreme Court ruled that although the appellants are not direct victims of racial discrimination, as passengers utilizing the segregated services of interstate and intrastate transportation facilities they have an absolute right to join this civil rights action. Further, the Court ruled that it cannot foreclose cases filed with respect to such important legal questions. The Court would have to interpret and if needed implement the Constitutional provisions in such instances. The Court has the authority to direct the matter for adjudication to the appropriate court. In this case, the Court directed the matter to be adjudicated by very same District Court that refused to hear the matter in the first instance.

On remand, after openly defying court orders, and subsequent action by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the segregated interstate and intrastate transportation facilities along with any indicia of their existence were finally removed.

If your rights to freely travel throughout interstate and intrastate transportation facilities are being violated contact The Sanders Firm, P.C. in New York. We will review your claims thoroughly, providing you with an outline of possible actions you may wish to take. We are ready to be your voice for justice.

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