Morgan v. Virginia 328 U.S. 373 (1946)

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MORGAN v. VIRGINIA 328 U.S. 373 (1946)

This was the first transportation segregation case brought to the Supreme Court by the NAACP; counsel for the appellant were thurgood marshall and william h. hastie. A Virginia law required racial segregation of passengers on buses. A black woman, riding from Virginia to Maryland, refused to move to a rear seat; she was convicted of a misdemeanor and fined $10. Eighteen states forbade such segregation of passengers, and ten states required it. In 1878 the Supreme Court had invalidated a state law forbidding racial segregation on an interstate carrier as an undue burden on interstate commerce in hall v. decuir. The NAACP lawyers rested on the Hall precedent, and did not argue that the Virginia law violated the fourteenth amendment.

In an opinion by Justice stanley f. reed, the Supreme Court held, 7–1, that the law unduly burdened interstate commerce. Although the usual analysis of a state regulation of commerce involves a balance of burdens on commerce against competing state interests such as health or safety, the Court avoided any discussion of a state interest in segregation, saying only that a uniform national rule of passenger seating was required for interstate carriers, if any rule was to be adopted. Justice harold burton dissented.

Kenneth L. Karst

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Morgan v. Virginia 328 U.S. 373 (1946)

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