- Slaughter-House Cases
FullName=The Butchers' Benevolent Association of New Orleans v. The Crescent City Live-Stock Landing and Slaughter-House Company
Paul Esteben, L. Ruch, J. P. Rouede, W. Maylie, S. Firmberg, B. Beaubay, William Fagan, J. D. Broderick, N. Seibel, M. Lannes, J. Gitzinger, J. P. Aycock, D. Verges, The Live-Stock Dealers' and Butchers' Association of New Orleans, and Charles Cavaroc v. The State of Louisiana, ex rel. S. Belden, Attorney-General
The Butchers' Benevolent Association of New Orleans v. The Crescent City Live-Stock Landing and Slaughter-House Company
Citation=83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36; 21 L. Ed. 394; 1872 U.S. LEXIS 1139
Prior=Error to the Supreme Court of Louisiana
Holding=Privileges and immunities of citizenship of the United States were to be protected by the Fourteenth Amendment not privileges and immunities of citizenship of a state.
JoinMajority=Clifford, Strong, Hunt, Davis
JoinDissent=Chase, Swayne, Bradley
LawsApplied=U.S. Const. Art. IV. sec. 2, 13th, 14th, 15th AmendmentsThe "Slaughter-House Cases", 83 U.S. 36 (
1873), were a series of cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States.
History and legal dispute
The Slaughter-House Cases, ussc|83|36|1873 represented a block appeal to the United States Supreme Court testing Section 1 of the relatively new Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. It is viewed as a pivotal case in early
civil rightslaw, as it narrowly read the Fourteenth Amendment to protect only "privileges or immunities" conferred by virtue of the United States but not state citizenship, a distinction which persists to this day.Properly known as "Slaughter-House Cases," the decision consolidated three similar cases:
#"The Butchers' Benevolent Association of New Orleans v. The Crescent City Live-Stock Landing and Slaughter-House Company"
#"Paul Esteben, L. Ruch, J. P. Rouede, W. Maylie, S. Firmberg, B. Beaubay, William Fagan, J. D. Broderick, N. Seibel, M. Lannes, J. Gitzinger, J. P. Aycock, D. Verges, The Live-Stock Dealers' and Butchers' Association of New Orleans, and Charles Cavaroc v. The State of Louisiana, ex rel. S. Belden, Attorney-General"
#"The Butchers' Benevolent Association of New Orleans v. The Crescent City Live-Stock Landing and Slaughter-House Company"In 1869, the
Louisianalegislature passed a law that allowed the city of New Orleans to create a corporationthat centralized all slaughterhouseoperations in the city. The stated purpose of the new arrangement was to restrict the dumping of remains and waste in waterways and provide a single place for animals to be kept and slaughtered; critics called it a legal monopoly based on political patronage designed to shut down independent butchers. There were a number of provisions in the act creating the corporation, the pertinent being:
* fixed prices for the offloading and maintenance of
* fixed prices for
butchers who want to use the facilities
* a clause describing the process of collecting unpaid money
* a provision for a livestock inspector to ascertain animal health and fitness
Twenty-five butchers and those involved in the unloading, feeding, slaughtering, and other activities associated with converting livestock into food filed various actions attempting to halt the creation of the new corporation and any contemplated changes to the slaughtering business in New Orleans.
The lower courts found in favor of the new corporation in all cases. Five cases were appealed to the Supreme Court. The butchers based their claims on the
due process, privileges or immunities and equal protectionclauses in the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified by the states only five years before the decision in 1868. Their attorney, former Supreme Court Justice John A. Campbell(who had retired due to his Confederate loyalties), was then involved in a number of cases in New Orleans designed to obstruct Radical Reconstruction. He now argued for a new, broad reading of the Fourteenth Amendment that would allow white butchers to "sustain their lives through labor."
In a five-four decision written by Justice Samuel Freeman Miller issued on April 14, 1873, the Court held to a narrow interpretation of the amendment and ruled that it did not restrict the
police powersof the state. The Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment's Privileges or Immunities clauseaffected only rights of United States citizenship and not state citizenship. Therefore the butchers' Fourteenth Amendment rights had not been violated. At the time, the Court viewed due process in a procedural light rather than substantively. The Court further held that the amendment was primarily intended to protect former slaves and so could not be broadly applied.
“We do not conceal from ourselves the great responsibility which this duty devolves upon us. No questions so far reaching and pervading in their consequences, so profoundly interesting to the people of this country, and so important in their bearing upon the relations of the United States and of the several States to each other, and to the citizens of the states and of the United States, have been before this court during the official life of any of its present members. We have given every opportunity for a full hearing at the bar; we have discussed it freely and compared views among ourselves; we have taken ample time for careful deliberation, and we now propose to announce the judgments which we have formed in the construction of those articles, so far as we have found them necessary to the decision of the cases before us, and beyond that we have neither the inclination nor the right to go.” |Slaughterhouse Cases: 83 U.S. 36, at 67 (1873)
quote|"The next observation is more important in view of the arguments of counsel in the present case. It is, that the distinction between citizenship of the United States and citizenship of a state is clearly recognized and established. . . . It is quite clear, then, that there is a citizenship of the United States, and a citizenship of a state, which are distinct from each other, and which depend upon different characteristics or circumstances in the individual.
We think this distinction and its explicit recognition in this Amendment of great weight in this argument, because the next paragraph of this same section, which is the one mainly relied on by the plaintiffs in error, speaks only of privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, and does not speak of those of citizens of the several states. The argument, however, in favor of the plaintiffs, rests wholly on the assumption that the citizenship is the same and the privileges and immunities guaranteed by the clause are the same.” |Slaughterhouse Cases: 83 U.S. 36, 73-74 (1873)
Stephen J. Field, joined by three other justices, wrote an influential dissent in which he accepted Campbell's reading of the amendment as not confined to protection of freed slaves, but rather as embracing the common lawpresumption in favor of an individual right to pursue a legitimate occupation. Field's reading of the due process clause of the amendment would prevail in future cases in which the court read the amendment broadly to protect property interests against hostile state laws.
This case has been and continues to be referred to in some
conspiracy theoriesinvolving the extension of government powers due to it being the first case following the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to clarify the amendment's clause regarding dual federal and state citizenship.
*Lurie, Jonathan, and Labbe, Ronald. "Regulation, Reconstruction, and the Fourteenth Amendment." Wichita, Kan." University Press of Kansas, 2003. ISBN 0700612904
*Ross, Michael A. "Justice Miller's Reconstruction: The Slaughter-House Cases, Health Codes, and Civil Rights in New Orleans, 1861-1873." "Journal of Southern History." 64:4 (November 1998), 649-676.
*Ross, Michael A. "Justice of Shattered Dreams: Samuel Freeman Miller and the Supreme Court During the Civil War Era." Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003. ISBN 0807129240
List of United States Supreme Court Cases
case="Slaughter-House Cases", 83 U.S. 36 (1872)
* [http://www.oyez.org/oyez/resource/case/386/ Summary of case from OYEZ]
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