Hodges v. United States 203 U.S. 1 (1906)
HODGES v. UNITED STATES 203 U.S. 1 (1906)
Black laborers had agreed to work for a lumber firm. Hodges and the other white defendants, all private citizens, ordered the blacks to stop working, assaulted them, and violently drove them from their workplace. The defendants were indicted for violating federal civil rights laws. In a decision reconfirming much of the civil rights cases (1883) opinion, the Supreme Court indicated that the federal prosecution could not be supported under the fourteenth or fifteenth amendments because those amendments restrict only state action. The thirteenth amendment did not support a federal prosecution because group violence against blacks was not the equivalent of reducing them to slavery. In jones v. alfred h. mayer co. (1968) and griffin v. breckenridge (1971) the Court adopted a more generous attitude towards Congress's Thirteenth Amendment power to prohibit private discrimination.