Cabe v. Atchison, Topeka Sante Fe Railway Company, No. 15

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHughes
Citation35 S.Ct. 69,59 L.Ed. 169,235 U.S. 151
Docket NumberNo. 15
Decision Date30 November 1914
PartiesE. P. McCABE, J. T. Jeter, John W. Capers, and S. G. Garrett, Appts., v. ATCHISON, TOPEKA, & SANTE FE RAILWAY COMPANY, the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company, the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway Company, the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railway Company, and the Fort Smith & Western Railroad Company

235 U.S. 151
35 S.Ct. 69
59 L.Ed. 169
E. P. McCABE, J. T. Jeter, John W. Capers, and S. G. Garrett, Appts.,

v.

ATCHISON, TOPEKA, & SANTE FE RAILWAY COMPANY, the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company, the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway Company, the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railway Company, and the Fort Smith & Western Railroad Company.

No. 15
Argued Submitted October 26, 1914.
Decided November 30, 1914.

Page 152

Messrs. William Harrison, Edwin O. Tyler, and Ethelbert T. Barbour for appellants.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 152-156 intentionally omitted]

Page 156

Messrs. S. T. Bledsoe, J. R. Cottingham, C. O. Blake, Clifford L. Jackson, R. A. Kleinschmidt, C. E. Warner, and Mr. Charles West, Attorney General of Oklahoma, for appellees.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 156-158 intentionally omitted]

Page 158

Mr. Justice Hughes delivered the opinion of the court:

The legislature of the state of Oklahoma passed an act approved December 18, 1907 (Okla. Comp. Laws, 1910, §§ 860 et seq.), known as the 'separate coach law.' It provided that 'every railway company . . . doing business in this state, as a common carrier of passengers for hire,' should 'provide separate coaches or compartments, for the accommodation of the white and negro races, which separate coaches or cars' should 'be equal in all points of comfort and convenience' (§ 1); that at passenger depots there should be maintained 'separate waiting rooms,' likewise with equal facilities (§ 2); that the term 'negro,' as used in the act, should include every person of African descent, as defined by the state Constitution (§ 3); and that each compartment of a railway coach 'divided by good and substantial wooden partition, with a door therein, should be deemed a separate coach' within the meaning of the statute (§ 4).

It was further provided that nothing contained in the act should be construed to prevent railway companies 'from hauling sleeping cars, dining or chair cars attached to their trains, to be used exclusively by either white or negro passengers, separately but not jointly' (§ 7).

Other sections prescribed penalties both for carriers and for passengers failing to observe the law (§§ 5, 6). The act was to take effect sixty days after its approval (§ 12).

On February 15, 1908, just before the time when the statute, by its terms, was to become effective, five negro

Page 159

citizens of the state of Oklahoma (four of whom are appellants here) brought this suit in equity against the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway Company, the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company, the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway Company, the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railway Company, and the Fort Smith & Western Railroad Company, to restrain these companies from making any distinction in service on account of race. On February 26, 1908,—after the act had been in operation for a few days,—an amended bill was filed seeking specifically to enjoin compliance with the provisions of the statute for the reasons that it was repugnant (a) to the commerce clause of the Federal Constitution, (b) to the enabling act under which the state of Oklahoma was admitted to the Union (act of June 16, 1906, chap. 3335, § 3, 34 Stat. at L. 267, 269), and (c) to the 14th Amendment. The railroad companies severally demurred to the amended bill, asserting that it failed to state a case entitling the complainants to relief in equity. The circuit court sustained the demurrers, and, as the complainants elected to stand upon their bill, final decree dismissing the bill was entered. This decree was affirmed by the circuit court of appeals (109 C. C. A. 110, 186 Fed. 966), and the present appeal has been brought.

The conclusions of the court below, as stated in its opinion, were, in substance:

1. That, under the enabling act, the state of Oklahoma was admitted to the Union 'on an equal footing with the original states,' and, with respect to the matter in question, had authority to enact such laws, not in conflict with the Federal Constitution, as other states could enact; citing, Permoli v. New Orleans, 3 How. 589, 609, 11 L. ed. 739, 748; Escanaba & L. M. Transp. Co. v. Chicago, 107 U. S. 678, 688, 27 L. ed. 442, 446, 2 Sup. Ct. Rep. 185; Willamette Iron Bridge Co. v. Hatch, 125 U. S. 1, 31 L. ed. 629, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. 811; Ward v. Race Horse, 163 U. S. 504, 41 L. ed. 244, 16 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1076; Bolln v. Nebraska, 176 U. S. 83, 44 L. ed. 382, 20 Sup. Ct. Rep. 287. See also Coyle v. Smith, 221 U. S. 559, 573, 55 L. ed. 853, 860, 31 Sup. Ct. Rep. 688.

Page 160

2. That it had been decided by this court, so that the question could no longer be considered an open one, that it was not an infraction of the 14th Amendment for a state to require separate, but equal, accommodations for the two races. Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U. S. 537, 41 L. ed. 256, 16 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1138.

3. That the provision of § 7, above quoted, relating to sleeping cars, dining cars, and chair cars, did not offend against the 14th Amendment, as these cars were, comparatively speaking, luxuries, and that it was competent...

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156 practice notes
  • Barrows v. Jackson, No. 517
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 15, 1953
    ...be justified on the ground that there is little demand for such facilities by Negroes as a group. McCabe v. Atchison, T. & S.F.R. Co., 235 U.S. 151, 161—162, 35 S.Ct. 69, 71, 59 L.Ed. 169. See Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629, 635, 70 S.Ct. 848, 850, 94 L.Ed. 1114. This description of the ri......
  • Tinsley v. Palo Alto Unified School Dist.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 13, 1979
    ...Cal.Rptr. 29; Hart v. County of Los Angeles (1968) 260 Cal.App.2d 512, 516, 67 Cal.Rptr. 242; McCabe v. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co. (1914) 235 U.S. 151, 164, 35 S.Ct. 69, 72, 59 L.Ed. 169, 175; Brown v. Board of Trustees of La Grange Ind. Sch. Dist. (5th Cir. 1951) 187 F.2d 20, 25; and Tyre......
  • Mulkey v. Reitman, L.A. 28360
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 10, 1966
    ...in discrimination. (See also Baldwin v. Morgan, 5 Cir., 287 F.2d 750.) Similarly, as early as 1914, in McCabe v. Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry., 235 U.S. 151, it was stated at page 162, 35 S.Ct. 69, at page 71, 59 L.Ed. 169 that the denial of equal railroad facilities to Negroes by a private railr......
  • Hopkins v. City Of Richmond, (No. 1.)
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • September 9, 1915
    ...95 U. S. 485, 24 L. Ed. 547; Berea College v. Kentucky, 211 U. S. 45, 29 Sup. Ct. 33, 53 L. Ed. 81; McCabe v. Atchison, T. & S. Ry. Co., 235 U. S. 151, 35 Sup. Ct. 69, 59 L. Ed. 169. Segregation ordinances, more or less similar to those involved in the instant cases, have been passed upon b......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
156 cases
  • Barrows v. Jackson, No. 517
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 15, 1953
    ...be justified on the ground that there is little demand for such facilities by Negroes as a group. McCabe v. Atchison, T. & S.F.R. Co., 235 U.S. 151, 161—162, 35 S.Ct. 69, 71, 59 L.Ed. 169. See Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629, 635, 70 S.Ct. 848, 850, 94 L.Ed. 1114. This description of the ri......
  • Tinsley v. Palo Alto Unified School Dist.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 13, 1979
    ...Cal.Rptr. 29; Hart v. County of Los Angeles (1968) 260 Cal.App.2d 512, 516, 67 Cal.Rptr. 242; McCabe v. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co. (1914) 235 U.S. 151, 164, 35 S.Ct. 69, 72, 59 L.Ed. 169, 175; Brown v. Board of Trustees of La Grange Ind. Sch. Dist. (5th Cir. 1951) 187 F.2d 20, 25; and Tyre......
  • Mulkey v. Reitman, L.A. 28360
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 10, 1966
    ...in discrimination. (See also Baldwin v. Morgan, 5 Cir., 287 F.2d 750.) Similarly, as early as 1914, in McCabe v. Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry., 235 U.S. 151, it was stated at page 162, 35 S.Ct. 69, at page 71, 59 L.Ed. 169 that the denial of equal railroad facilities to Negroes by a private railr......
  • Hopkins v. City Of Richmond, (No. 1.)
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • September 9, 1915
    ...95 U. S. 485, 24 L. Ed. 547; Berea College v. Kentucky, 211 U. S. 45, 29 Sup. Ct. 33, 53 L. Ed. 81; McCabe v. Atchison, T. & S. Ry. Co., 235 U. S. 151, 35 Sup. Ct. 69, 59 L. Ed. 169. Segregation ordinances, more or less similar to those involved in the instant cases, have been passed upon b......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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