Citation. 16 Wall. (83. U.S.) 36, 21 L. Ed. 394 (1873)
Brief Fact Summary.
Butchers in Louisiana challenged the state law that required all competing facilities to close but required the new corporation to permit independent butchers to slaughter by paying fees, alleging the violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Privileges and immunities that each citizen in the United States is entitled to include only those that are fundamental.
Under the Louisiana law of 1869, the Crescent City Livestock Landing and Slaughter-House Company was created and granted a 25-year right to maintain slaughterhouses in an area that included the city of New Orleans. The law required all competing facilities to close but required the new corporation to permit independent butchers to slaughter cattle in its slaughterhouses at charges fixed by statute. Butchers not included in the monopoly claimed that the law deprived their right to exercise their trade and challenged it under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Does the State law that required all competing facilities to close but required the new corporation to permit independent butchers to slaughter by paying fees violate the Fourteenth Amendment?
Yes, the constitutional clause that provides that “no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States” was meant to apply to only African American slaves. It was not meant to offer the same economic protection to the citizen of a State against the legislative power of his own State.
The Fourteenth Amendment does protect the citizens of the United States against the deprivation of their common rights by State legislation. The terms, privileges and immunities, are not new in the amendment. They assume that there are such privileges and immunities which belong of right to citizens as such and ordains that they shall not be abridged by State legislation. Among these rights is the right to pursue a lawful employment in a lawful manner, without other restraint than such as equally affects all persons.
The privileges and immunities are those that belong to citizens of the States as such, and that they are left to the State governments for security and protection, and not by the Federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment was established to provide protection to citizens in the United States by guaranteeing their privileges and immunities. However, they are confined to only those that are deemed fundamental. While the right to acquire and possess property of any kind, to pursue and obtain happiness and safety, to have equal access to transportation is granted to every citizen, the right the plaintiff had alleged is not guaranteed by the amendment.