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Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 379 U.S. 241, 85 S. Ct. 348, 13 L. Ed. 2d 258, 1964 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. Prior to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the Act), the Appellant, Heart Atlanta Motel, Inc. (Appellant) operated a motel which refused accommodations to blacks. Appellant intended to continue this behavior to challenge Congress’ authority to pass the Act.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Congress may regulate the ability of commercial institutions to deny service on the basis of race under its power to regulate interstate commerce.


Facts. Heart of Atlanta Motel had 216 rooms available to transient guests and had historically rented rooms only to white guests. Appellant solicits business from outside the State of Georgia through advertising in national travel magazines and other media. Approximately 70% of its guests are from outside the state. Appellant contends that Congress has overreached its authority under the Commerce Clause in enacting the Act.

Issue. May Congress prohibit racial discrimination in hotel lodging under the Commerce Clause?

Content Type: Brief


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