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Reitman v. Mulkey


REITMAN V. MULKEY, 387 U.S. 369 (1967). The 1963 California legislature, voting nearly along party lines, passed the Rumford Act prohibiting racial discrimination in the sale or rental of part of the state's housing. Soon after, the California Real Estate Association sponsored Proposition 14, a state constitutional amendment banning fair housing measures by California state or local governments. Strongly supported by the Republican Party, Proposition 14 was ratified by the state's voters in November 1964 by nearly two to one. The NAACP's challenge to Proposition 14 on behalf of Lincoln Mulkey failed in Orange County, but its appeal succeeded, by five votes to two, in the California Supreme Court and by five to four in the U.S. Supreme Court. Since 1967, housing discrimination has lessened, but not disappeared. Although the decision has never been explicitly overruled, it was silently sidestepped when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, with the Supreme Court's acquiescence, rejected a challenge to California Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action to overcome past and present racial discrimination.


Casstevens, Thomas W. Politics, Housing, and Race Relations: California's Rumford Act and Proposition 14. Berkeley: Institute for Governmental Studies, 1967.

Karst, Kenneth L., and Harold W. Horowitz. "Reitman v. Mulkey: A Telophase of Substantive Equal Protection." Supreme Court Review (1967): 39–80.

J. MorganKousser

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