Was the U.S. Civil rights Act of 1964 really Constitutional? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15305913
In 1964, the United States passed the Civil Rights Act.

Senator Barry Goldwater, who would later run on the Republican side in the next Presidential election, voted against the bill. This was despite the fact that Goldwater had previously supported attempts to pass civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960. The reason Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act was because of Title II in the bill, which read:

"Your rights under TITLE II
You have the right to full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation. You cannot be treated differently by a place of public accommodation because of your race, color, religion, or national origin."

The bill considered private businesses to be a "public accommodation". Therefore, while the act ostensibly granted "rights" to individuals, it took away rights from private business.

Some of you may be familiar with the difference between "positive rights" and "negative rights".
Positive rights involve something than an individual is owed, which other people are required to do for that individual. (An example might be the "right to healthcare") Negative rights is the right the individual has for something not to be done to them. (An example might be the right not to be murdered)

Goldwater said about his opposition to the bill, "You can't legislate morality", and believed Title II in the 1964 bill violated individual liberty and states' rights.

In the U.S. Supreme Court cases Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States (1964) and United States v. Johnson (1968) the Supreme Court upheld that the Act did apply to private businesses. In both cases the court noted that the businesses in question, a hotel in the first case and a restaurant in the second, were near an interstate highway.

It was argued that the discrimination of the businesses had an effect on interstate commerce, and that therefore the federal government had the power under the U.S. Constitution to enforce this law.

But is this really a fair standard to determine whether enforcement of a policy in appropriate under the Constitution?
I would think, rather, that the federal government should only have the power to enforce a non-discrimination law on actual interstate commerce, and not just on any business because it might affect interstate commerce in some way. Unless there was some more extreme reason and the policy was very important for being able to control interstate commerce.

It seems to me that the government just ignored the U.S. Constitution, and the Supreme Court came up with some very flimsy excuses to justify it. This goes against logic and legal common sense, and goes against the spirit of the Constitution.

The Civil Rights Act then set precedent for all sorts of additional federal government interference. Arguably this interference is not the appropriate role of the federal level of government under the U.S. Constitution.

The Fourteenth Amendment says that "No state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" and "Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article". But the federal government and Supreme Court later give a radical interpretation to what "equal protection of the laws" meant, a meaning that was far more expansive.

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