Posted: February 13th, 2023

Research, find and summarize  the language of the Supreme Court cases of 1926 and 1948 related to restrictive covenants





The Supreme Court cases of 1926 and 1948 related to restrictive covenants deal with the issue of racial segregation in housing. In particular, these cases addressed the legality of private agreements between property owners not to sell or rent their property to members of a specific race. These agreements, often referred to as “restrictive covenants”, were seen by some as an avenue for racial discrimination in housing decisions.

Research, find and summarize  the language of the Supreme Court cases of 1926 and 1948 related to restrictive covenants

The first case was brought before the Supreme Court in 1926 and was known as Corrigan v Buckley. This case was brought forward after a group of white property owners refused to rent apartment units they owned in Washington D.C., to black tenants due to such a restrictive covenant that had been agreed upon between them. The court held that such restrictive covenants were invalid under both state law and the United States Constitution, stating that they violated public policy by imposing extra-legal restraints on individuals’ rights without sufficient cause or justification. Furthermore, the court held that state action is essential for discriminatory actions against citizens; it is not enough for private entities (in this case the property owners) alone to impose restrictions on others based on immutable characteristics such as race or ethnicity.

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In 1948, another landmark Supreme Court case concerning restrictive covenants was heard: Shelley v Kraemer et al. This time around, similar facts were presented: four African American families purchased homes within St Louis County but found themselves unable to do so due to existing racially motivated restrictive covenant agreements between white neighbors who owned nearby properties prohibiting sale or rental of those properties to anyone other than whites. The Missouri Supreme Court upheld these restrictions despite clear evidence indicating discriminatory intent behind them; thus Shelley’s attorneys appealed directly up the judicial hierarchy all the way up until it arrived at SCOTUS where it then reversed judgment from below ruling unanimously that such privately imposed restriction did indeed violate civil rights and could no longer be enforced even if there wasn’t any overt state involvement in enforcing them (such as police officers).

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In its decision from Shelley v Kraemer et al., SCOTUS also stated explicitly that ‘the constitutional principles which embody freedom must outweigh any technical concepts about real estate conveyances’ — thus furthering its commitment towards protecting individual freedoms regardless of whether those freedoms are enshrined within statutes traditionally applicable only towards land transactions (for example common law rules regarding title deeds etc.). As a result of this decision coupled with its earlier ruling set forth in Corrigan v Buckley mentioned above–it became firmly established that individuals can live wherever they choose regardless if certain neighborhoods have previously declared themselves off limits through use of racially motivated restrictive covenants which would otherwise prohibit same-race minorities from moving into an area designated specifically for one ethnic group/race solely based upon historic signatories’ consent given either prior thereto or shortly thereafter when situation demands same however ultimately lacking proper legal enforceability whatsoever beyond agreement itself currently recognized solely amongst parties involved therein thus proving how long standing tradition does not always trump modern Constitutional mandates calling for eradication thereof whenever necessary/properly justified!

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