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Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States - Significance, Supreme Court Affirms Congressional Authority To Regulate Private Business Under The Commerce Clause

public accommodations decision civil


Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc.


United States

Appellant's Claim

That provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, requiring hotel and motel owners to provide accommodations to African Americans, cannot be enforced against privately owned public accommodations.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Moreton Rolleston, Jr.

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Archibald Cox, U.S. Solicitor General

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., Tom C. Clark (writing for the Court), William O. Douglas, Arthur Goldberg, John Marshall Harlan II, Potter Stewart, Earl Warren, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

14 December 1964


By a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court upheld the public accommodations provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Related Cases

  • Hall v. DeCuir, 95 U.S. 485 (1878).
  • Civil Rights Cases, 100 U.S. 3 (1887).
  • Hoke v. United States, 227 U.S. 308 (1913).
  • Caminetti v. United States, 242 U.S. 470 (1917).
  • Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294 (1964).
  • Griffin v. Maryland, 378 U.S. 130 (1971).

Further Readings

  • Bell, Derrick A. Race, Racism, and American Law, 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1980.
  • Wood, L. Ingleby. The Drive to Desegregate Places of Public Accommodation. New York: Garland, 1991.
  • Nieman, Donald G., ed. Black Southerners and the Law, 1865-1900. New York, NY: Garland, 1994.
Huey P. Newton Trial: 1968 - Grand Jury Becomes Issue, Surprise Witness Surfaces, Jury Disappoints All, Two More Trials, Then A Dismissal [next] [back] Harrisburg Coalition Against Ruining the Environment v. Volpe - Significance, No Evidence Of Discriminatory Effect, Impact, Further Readings

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about 9 years ago

the u.s. won the case

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almost 10 years ago

who won the case and what was the actual date that it happened?

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over 10 years ago

what is the supreme courts decision on the heart of atlanta motel v. united states?

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almost 8 years ago

not sure