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33 Calif. L. Rev. 388 (1945)
The Right to Equal Opportunity in Employment

handle is hein.journals/calr33 and id is 406 raw text is: The Right to Equal Opportunity in
Employment
Pauli Murray*
I. JUDICIAL CONCEPTS OF THE RIGHT TO LABOR
TrHE INTEREST in freedom        from  discrimination in employment is
part of the broader interest in freely disposing of one's labor.
The various state and federal courts have been profuse in their verbal
homage to the idea that the right to work is an inalienable and natural
right,' a logical extension of the right to life and pursuit of happi-
ness,2 inherent in the guarantees of the Federal Constitution,8 and
rooted in the common law. Numerous courts have characterized
labor as the foundation of property, and thus a property right. Others
have deemed it a personal liberty. In either sense it is within the
protection of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.5
What these assertions have amounted to is simply that the right
to seek a job and perform it if an employer is willing to hire the
worker, and the right to pursue one's lawful calling, are rights which
are constitutionally protected against interference by arbitrary gov-
ernmental action. In other words, the individual's right to work is,
in legal terms, merely a right to contract for the sale of his labor.
*A.B. Hunter College, 1933; LL.B. Howard Law School, 1944; graduate student,
School of Jurisprudence, University of California.
1 Mr. Justice Bradley concurring in Butchers' Union v. Crescent City Co. (1884)
111 U.S. 746, 762, 764.
21bid. Followed in Allgeyer v. La. (1897) 165 U.S. 568, 589-590. Justice Swayne
dissenting in Slaughter-House cases, (1873) 83 U.S. 36, 127, expressed a similar view.
5Lochner v. New York (1905) 198 U.S. 45, 53, 56; Adair v. U.S. (1903) 208 U.S.
161, 173-5; Coppage v. Kansas (1915) 236 U.S. 1, 14; Ritchie v. People (1895) 115 I.
98, 40 N.E. 454; Bogni v. Perotti (1916) 224 Mass. 152, 112 N.E. 853. See Coffeyville
Brick Co. v. Perry (1904) 69 Kan. 297, 76 Pac. 848.
4 See Cornellier v. Haverhill Shoe Mfgrs. Assoc, (1915) 221 Mass. 554, 109 N.E.
643, L.RA. 1916C 218.
5Supra note 3. Accord: Chenoweth v. State Bd. of Med. Exam. (1913) 58 Colo.
74, 141 Pac. 132; Gillespie v. People (1900) 188 Ill. 176, 58 N.E. 1007; Kingston Trap
Co. v. Intl. Union (1941) 129 N.J. Eq. 570, 19 A. (2d) 661; State v. Gardner (1898)
58 Ohio St. 599, 51 N.E. 136; Jordan v. State (1907) 51 Tex. Crim. Rep. 531, 103 S.W.
633.

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