Annotation 28 - Fourteenth Amendment


Buchanan v. Warley 98 invalidated an ordinance which prohibited blacks from occupying houses in blocks where the greater number of houses were occupied by whites and which prohibited whites from doing so where the greater number of houses were occupied by blacks. Although racially restrictive covenants do not themselves violate the equal protection clause, the judicial enforcement of them, either by injunctive relief or through entertaining damage actions, does violate the Fourteenth Amendment. 99 Referendum passage of a constitutional amendment repealing a ''fair housing'' law and prohibiting further state or local action in that direction was held unconstitutional in Reitman v. Mulkey, 100 though on somewhat ambiguous grounds, while a state constitutional requirement that decisions of local authorities to build low-rent housing projects in an area must first be submitted to referendum, although other similar decisions were not so limited, was found to accord with the equal protection clause. 101 Private racial discrimination in the sale or rental of housing is subject to two federal laws prohibiting most such discrimination. 102 Provision of publicly assisted housing, of course, must be on a nondiscriminatory basis. 103  


[Footnote 98]   245 U.S. 60 (1917). See also Harmon v. Tyler, 273 U.S. 668 (1927); Richmond v. Deans, 281 U.S. 704 (1930).

[Footnote 99] Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948); Hurd v. Hodge, 334 U.S. 24 (1948); Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249 (1953). Cf. Corrigan v. Buckley, 271 U.S. 323 (1926).

[Footnote 100]   387 U.S. 369 (1967).

[Footnote 101] James v. Valtierra, 402 U.S. 137 (1971). The Court did not perceive that either on its face or as applied the provision was other than racially neutral. Justices Marshall, Brennan, and Blackmun dissented. Id. at 143.

[Footnote 102] Civil Rights Act of 1866, 14 Stat. 27, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1982, see Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 (1968), and Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, 82 Stat. 73, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 3601 et seq.

[Footnote 103] See Hills v. Gautreaux, 425 U.S. 284 (1976).

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