Brief Fact Summary. Ollie’s barbeque (Ollie’s) in Alabama refused to serve Negroes.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Congressional power to regulate commerce can reach seemingly local activities if there is a connection to national commerce.
Issue. Can Ollie’s discriminate against Negroes in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it is a local restaurant that is not located near a highway and does not advertise out of state?
Held. No, Ollie’s cannot discriminate against Negroes. Even though Ollie’s was primarily a local restaurant and its food supply purchases didn’t really affect commerce, there is a lot of discrimination in the country at this time. Ollie’s is perpetuating this discrimination along with similar establishments in the country. In the aggregate, this conduct could have a harmful affect on interstate commerce. Furthermore, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applied to establishments when a substantial portion of their food supplies moved in commerce.
Discussion. When there is a rational relation between the legislative objective of protecting commerce and the means chosen to do so, Congress may exercise its commerce power.