Katzenbach v. Clung, No. 543

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCLARK
Citation13 L.Ed.2d 290,379 U.S. 294,85 S.Ct. 377
Decision Date14 December 1964
Docket NumberNo. 543
PartiesNicholas deB. KATZENBACH, Acting Attorney General, et al., Appellants, v. Ollie McCLUNG, Sr., and Ollie McClung, Jr

379 U.S. 294
85 S.Ct. 377
13 L.Ed.2d 290
Nicholas deB. KATZENBACH, Acting Attorney General, et al., Appellants,

v.

Ollie McCLUNG, Sr., and Ollie McClung, Jr.

No. 543.
Argued Oct. 5, 1964.
Decided Dec. 14, 1964.

Archibald Cox, Sol. Gen., for appellants.

Robert McDavid Smith, Birmingham, Ala., for appellees.

Page 295

Mr. Justice CLARK delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case was argued with No. 515, Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, decided this date, 379 U.S. 241, 85 S.Ct. 348, in which we upheld the constitutional validity of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against an attack no hotels, motels, and like establishments. This complaint for injunctive relief against appellants attacks the constitutionality of the Act as applied to a restaurant. The case was heard by a three-judge United States District Court and an injunction was issued restraining appellants from enforcing the Act against the restaurant. 233 F.Supp. 815. On direct appeal, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1252, 1253 (1958 ed.), we noted probable jurisdiction. 379 U.S. 802, 85 S.Ct. 348. We now reverse the judgment.

1. The Motion to Dismiss.

The appellants moved in the District Court to dismiss the complaint for want of equity jurisdiction and that claim is pressed here. The grounds are that the Act authorizes only preventive relief; that there has been no threat of enforcement against the appellees and that they have alleged no irreparable injury. It is true that ordinarily equity will not interfere in such cases. However, we may and do consider this complaint as an application for a declaratory judgment under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202 (1958 ed.). In this case, of course, direct appeal to this Court would still lie under 28 U.S.C. § 1252 (1958

Page 296

ed.). But even though Rule 57 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits declaratory relief although another adequate remedy exists, it should not be granted where a special statutory proceeding has been provided. See Notes on Rule 57 of Advisory Committee on Rules, 28 U.S.C.App. p. 5178 (1958 ed.) Title II provides for such a statutory proceeding for the determination of rights and duties arising thereunder, §§ 204—207, and courts should, therefore, ordinarily refrain from exercising their jurisdiction in such cases.

The present case, however, is in a unique position. The interference with governmental action has occurred and the constitutional question is before us in the companion case of Heart of Atlanta Motel as well as in this case. It is important that a decision on the constitutionality of the Act as applied in these cases be announced as quickly as possible. For these reasons, we have concluded, with the above caveat, that the denial of discretionary declaratory relief is not required here.

2. The Facts.

Ollie's Barbecue is a family-owned restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama, specializing in barbecued meats and homemade pies, with a seating capacity of 220 customers. It is located on a state highway 11 blocks from an interstate one and a somewhat greater distance from railroad and bus stations. The restaurant caters to a family and white-collar trade with a take-out service for Negroes. It employs 36 persons, two-thirds of whom are Negroes.

In the 12 months preceding the passage of the Act, the restaurant purchased locally approximately $150,000 worth of food, $69,683 or 46% of which was meat that it bought from a local supplier who had procured it from outside the State. The District Court expressly found that a substantial portion of the food served in the restau-

Page 297

rant had moved in interstate commerce. The restaurant has refused to serve Negroes in its dining accommodations since its original opening in 1927, and since July 2, 1964, it has been operating in violation of the Act. The court below concluded that if it were required to serve Negroes it would lose a substantial amount of business.

On the merits, the District Court held that the Act could not be applied under the Fourteenth Amendment because it was conceded that the State of Alabama was not involved in the refusal of the restaurant to serve Negroes. It was also admitted that the Thirteenth Amendment was authority neither for validating nor for invalidating the Act. As to the Commerce Clause, the court found that it was 'an express grant of power to Congress to regulate interstate commerce, which consists of the movement of persons, goods or information from one state to another'; and it found that the clause was also a grant of power 'to regulate intrastate activities, but only to the extent that action on its part is necessary or appropriate to the effective execution of its expressly granted power to regulate interstate commerce.' There must be, it said, a close and substantial relation between local activities and interstate commerce which requires control of the former in the protection of the latter. The court concluded, however, that the Congress, rather than finding facts sufficient to meet this rule, had legislated a conclusive presumption that a restaurant affects interstate commerce if it serves or offers to serve interstate travelers or if a substantial portion of the food which it serves has moved in commerce. This, the court held, it could not do because there was no demonstrable connection between food purchased in interstate commerce and sold in a restaurant and the conclusion of Congress that discrimination in the restaurant would affect that commerce.

Page 298

The basic holding in Heart of Atlanta Motel, answers many of the contentions made by the appellees.1 There we outlined the overall purpose and operations plan of Title II and found it a valid exercise of the power to regulate interstate commerce insofar as it requires hotels and motels to serve transients without regard to their race or color. In this case we consider its application to restaurants which serve food a substantial portion of which has moved in commerce.

Section 201(a) of Title II commands that all persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods and services of any place of public accommodation without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin; and § 201(b) defines establishments as places of public accommodation if their operations affect commerce or segregation by them is supported by state action. Sections 201(b)(2) and (c) place any 'restaurant * * * principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises' under the Act 'if * * * it serves or offers to serve interstate travelers or a substantial portion of the food which it serves * * * has moved in commerce.'

Ollie's Barbecue admits that it is covered by these provisions of the Act. The Government makes no contention that the discrimination at the restaurant was supported by the State of Alabama. There is no claim that interstate travelers frequented the restaurant. The sole question, therefore, narrows down to whether Title II, as applied to a restaurant annually receiving about $70,000 worth of food which has moved in commerce, is a valid exercise of the power of Congress. The Govern-

Page 299

ment has contended that Congress had ample basis upon which to find that racial discrimination at restaurants which receive from out of state a substantial portion of the food served does, in fact, impose commercial burdens of national magnitude upon interstate commerce. The appellees' major argument is directed to this premise. They urge that no such basis existed. It is to that question that we now...

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475 practice notes
  • National League of Cities v. Usery California v. Usery, Nos. 74-878
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 16, 1975
    ...of the power. See Parden v. Terminal R. Co., 377 U.S. 184, 191, 84 S.Ct. 1207, 1212, 12 L.Ed.2d 233 (1964); Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294, 305, 85 S.Ct. 377, 384, 13 L.Ed.2d 290 (1964); United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 114, 61 S.Ct. 451, 457, 85 L.Ed. 609 (1941). Thus laws within......
  • U.S. v. Dinwiddie, No. 95-1803WM
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • May 9, 1996
    ...gives Congress the power to regulate activity that diminishes interstate commerce in a good or service. See, e.g., Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294, 299-300, 85 S.Ct. 377, 381, 13 L.Ed.2d 290 (1964) (Congress may regulate discrimination in restaurant services because, among other things,......
  • State ex rel Battle v. B. D. Bailey & Sons, Inc., No. 12447
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • February 23, 1966
    ...of the United States to apparently local activities and transactions in indicated by the recent case of Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294, 85 S.Ct. 377, 13 L.Ed.2d 290, in which the Court said that restaurants offering to serve interstate travelers or serving food, a substantial portion o......
  • NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MOTOR BUS OWNERS v. Brinegar, No. 71-1268.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 26, 1973
    ...§ 102 of the Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1391 (1970), are for the defined terms "as used in . . . Title I." 17 See Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294, 301-305, 85 S.Ct. 377, 13 L.Ed.2d 290 (1964); Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241, 247, 248, 253-261, 85 S.Ct. 348, 13 L.E......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
474 cases
  • National League of Cities v. Usery California v. Usery, Nos. 74-878
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 16, 1975
    ...of the power. See Parden v. Terminal R. Co., 377 U.S. 184, 191, 84 S.Ct. 1207, 1212, 12 L.Ed.2d 233 (1964); Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294, 305, 85 S.Ct. 377, 384, 13 L.Ed.2d 290 (1964); United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 114, 61 S.Ct. 451, 457, 85 L.Ed. 609 (1941). Thus laws within......
  • U.S. v. Dinwiddie, No. 95-1803WM
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • May 9, 1996
    ...gives Congress the power to regulate activity that diminishes interstate commerce in a good or service. See, e.g., Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294, 299-300, 85 S.Ct. 377, 381, 13 L.Ed.2d 290 (1964) (Congress may regulate discrimination in restaurant services because, among other things,......
  • State ex rel Battle v. B. D. Bailey & Sons, Inc., No. 12447
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • February 23, 1966
    ...of the United States to apparently local activities and transactions in indicated by the recent case of Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294, 85 S.Ct. 377, 13 L.Ed.2d 290, in which the Court said that restaurants offering to serve interstate travelers or serving food, a substantial portion o......
  • NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MOTOR BUS OWNERS v. Brinegar, No. 71-1268.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 26, 1973
    ...§ 102 of the Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1391 (1970), are for the defined terms "as used in . . . Title I." 17 See Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294, 301-305, 85 S.Ct. 377, 13 L.Ed.2d 290 (1964); Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241, 247, 248, 253-261, 85 S.Ct. 348, 13 L.E......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • POLITICAL TRUST, SOCIAL TRUST, AND JUDICIAL REVIEW.
    • United States
    • Constitutional Commentary Vol. 36 Nbr. 2, September 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    ...operator, public accommodations provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 valid under the Commerce Clause). (104.) Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294 (1964) (holding public accommodations provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 valid, under the Commerce Clause, as applied to a (105.) U......

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