Case: Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co.

65-00301 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

Filed Date: Sept. 2, 1965

Closed Date: June 17, 1968

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Case Summary

This case was one of the most important civil rights precedents of the 1960s. It began when the Plaintiffs, prospective African-American homebuyers, applied to purchase a property from Defendant-home developer, who rejected them solely on the basis of their race. Plaintiffs sued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri under 42 U.S.C. 1981, 1982, 1983, and 2000e, alleging that a race-based denial of a home purchase violated federal civil rights laws, especially the requi…

This case was one of the most important civil rights precedents of the 1960s. It began when the Plaintiffs, prospective African-American homebuyers, applied to purchase a property from Defendant-home developer, who rejected them solely on the basis of their race. Plaintiffs sued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri under 42 U.S.C. 1981, 1982, 1983, and 2000e, alleging that a race-based denial of a home purchase violated federal civil rights laws, especially the requirement in 42 U.S.C. 1982 that: "All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property."

U.S. District Court Judge Regan granted Defendants' motion to dismiss, holding that in the absence of state action the Plaintiffs did not have a valid cause of action under federal civil rights statutes. Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 255 F. Supp. 115 (E.D. Mo 1966). The Eighth Circuit affirmed the dismissal on June 26, 1967. Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 379 F.2d 33 (8th Cir. 1967) (opinion of Blackmun, J.).

The Supreme Court reversed the lower courts on June 17, 1968. Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 (1968). The Court held that Congress, acting pursuant to its power under the Thirteenth Amendment to eliminate badges of slavery, had the constitutional power to prohibit certain types of private race-based discrimination, and that 42 U.S.C. 1982 validly exercised this power by forbidding private discrimination relating to the sale of housing.

Summary Authors

Andrew Nash (6/2/2008)

People


Judge(s)

Blackmun, Harry Andrew (District of Columbia)

Douglas, William Orville (District of Columbia)

Harlan, John Marshall (District of Columbia)

Lay, Donald Pomery (Minnesota)

Mehaffy, Pat (Arkansas)

Regan, John Keating (Missouri)

Stewart, Potter (District of Columbia)

White, Byron Raymond (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fiss, Owen M. (District of Columbia)

Leff, Arthur A. (Missouri)

Judge(s)

Blackmun, Harry Andrew (District of Columbia)

Douglas, William Orville (District of Columbia)

Harlan, John Marshall (District of Columbia)

Lay, Donald Pomery (Minnesota)

Mehaffy, Pat (Arkansas)

Regan, John Keating (Missouri)

Stewart, Potter (District of Columbia)

White, Byron Raymond (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fiss, Owen M. (District of Columbia)

Leff, Arthur A. (Missouri)

Liberman, Samuel H. II (Missouri)

Norman, David L. (District of Columbia)

Spritzer, Ralph S. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Treiman, Israel (Missouri)

Other Attorney(s)

Anderson, Norman H. (Missouri)

Burns, C. B. Jr. (Missouri)

Cadwalader, Thomas F. (Maryland)

Carter, Robert Lee (New York)

Claiborne, Louis F. (District of Columbia)

Clark, Ramsey (District of Columbia)

Defeo, Louis C. Jr. (Missouri)

Griswold, Erwin N. (District of Columbia)

Hartman, Paul (New York)

Landsberg, Brian K. (District of Columbia)

Pfeffer, Leo (New York)

Pollak, Stephen J. (District of Columbia)

Posner, Richard A. (District of Columbia)

Rabkin, Sol (New York)

Robison, Joseph B. (New York)

Williams, George Washington (Maryland)

Wulf, Melvin L. (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

65-00301

Opinion

Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Company

255 F.Supp. 115

May 18, 1966

May 18, 1966

Order/Opinion

67-18473

Opinion [Court of Appeals]

Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Company

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

379 F.2d 33

June 26, 1967

June 26, 1967

Order/Opinion

67-00845

Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae

Joseph L. Jones and Barbara Jo Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Company

Supreme Court of the United States

Oct. 1, 1967

Oct. 1, 1967

Pleading / Motion / Brief

[Re: Limited Construction of Section 1982]

No Court

Oct. 4, 1967

Oct. 4, 1967

Internal memorandum

Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Company

No Court

Oct. 9, 1967

Oct. 9, 1967

Internal memorandum

67-00645

Memorandum Decision [regarding petition for writ of certiorari]

Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Company

Supreme Court of the United States

389 U.S. 968

Dec. 4, 1967

Dec. 4, 1967

Order/Opinion

67-00645

Memorandum Decision [regarding amicus curiae]

Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Company

Supreme Court of the United States

390 U.S. 935

March 4, 1968

March 4, 1968

Order/Opinion

67-00645

Order [regarding Civil Rights Act of 1968]

Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Company

Supreme Court of the United States

390 U.S. 1019

April 22, 1968

April 22, 1968

Order/Opinion

67-00645

Dissenting Opinion

Jones v. Mayer Co.

Supreme Court of the United States

June 17, 1968

June 17, 1968

Order/Opinion

67-00645

On Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Supreme Court of the United States

392 U.S. 409

June 17, 1968

June 17, 1968

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated June 6, 2022, 3:03 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Missouri

Case Type(s):

Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 2, 1965

Closing Date: June 17, 1968

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiffs allege that the respondents had refused to sell them a home in the Paddock Woods community of St. Louis County for the sole reason that the petitioner Joseph Lee Jones is black.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Alfred H. Mayer Company (Paddock Woods (subdivision), St. Louis), Private Entity/Person

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1982

Constitutional Clause(s):

Slavery/Involuntary servitude

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Confession of Judgment

Order Duration: 1968 - None

Issues

General:

Racial segregation

Discrimination-area:

Housing Sales/Rental

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black