Shelley v. Kraemer: Racially Discriminatory Deals on Real Estate Can't be Enforced

Shelley v. Kraemer: Racially Discriminatory Deals on Real Estate Can't be Enforced

Shelley v. Kraemer

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Decided: Shelley v. Kraemer — The U.S. Supreme Court rules that racially discriminatory restrictions on real estate cannot be enforced.

In 1945 a black family named Shelley purchased a house in St. Louis, Missouri, which included a covenant banning ownership by "people of the Negro or Mongolian Race."

A neighbor sued to prevent the Shelley family from taking possession, and the Supreme Court of Missouri upheld the racially discriminatory covenant as constitutional and enforceable.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturns the lower court ruling, arguing that while private parties are free to agree or not agree to abide by a covenant, enforcement of such covenants constitutes state action, and states are barred from racially discriminatory acts by the 14th Amendment.

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