71 Md. L. Rev. 83 (2011-2012)
Involuntary Servitude, Public Accommodations Laws, and the Legacy of Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States

handle is hein.journals/mllr71 and id is 85 raw text is: INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE, PUBLIC
ACCOMMODATIONS IAWS, AND THE LEGACY OF
HEART OFATLANTA MOTEL, INC. v. UNITED STATES
LINDA C. MCCLAIN
I. INTRODUCTION
In this Article, I look at two contrasting ways in which arguments
about the Thirteenth Amendment's declaration that [n]either sla-
very nor involuntary servitude ... shall exist within the United States
featured in the enactment of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964'
and in Heart ofAtlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States,' the case in which the
United States Supreme Court upheld the Act. First, the Thirteenth
Amendment's prohibition of involuntary servitude makes a brief ap-
pearance in Heart of Atlanta Motel as an unsuccessful basis on which
the motel owner challenged Title II.3 A similar claim arose in Con-
gress when some lawmakers argued that the Thirteenth Amendment
posed an insurmountable constitutional barrier to a federal public
accommodations law because it compelled service.4 The second role
played by the Thirteenth Amendment (barely discernible in Heart of
Atlanta Motel but more evident in the congressional debates over Title
Copyright @ 2011 by Linda C. McClain.
. Professor of Law and Paul M. Siskind Research Scholar, Boston University School of
Law. This Article grew out of a paper I presented at the the 2011 Maryland Constitutional
Law Schmooze on the Thirteenth Amendment, held on February 25 & 26. Thanks to or-
ganizer Mark Graber and to participants for helpful comments, and, in particular, to Gar-
rett Epps and Rebecca Zietlow for pointing me toward additional research sources. I am
also grateful toJoseph Singer for insightful comments. Stefanie Weigmann, Head of Legal
Information Services, Pappas Library, and BU law students Darian Butcher and Hallie Ma-
rin provided valuable assistance with research. Comments are welcome: Imcclain@bu.edu.
1. Civil Rights Act of 1964, Pub. L. No. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, 243 (codified at 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000a-a6 (2006)). For a detailed account of the legislative debates and political strug-
gles that preceded the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Tide II, in particular,
see THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964: THE PASSAGE OF THE LAW THAT ENDED RACIAL
SEGREGATION (Robert D. Loevy ed., 1997); CHARLES & BARBARA WHALEN, THE LONGEST
DEBATE: A LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE 1964 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT (1985).
2. 379 U.S. 241 (1964). The Thirteenth Amendment states: Neither slavery nor invo-
luntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly
convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
U.S. CONST. amend. XIII, § 1.
3. Heart of Atlanta Motel, 379 U.S. at 261.
4. S. REP. No. 88-872, at 53 (1964) (Individual Views of Senator Strom Thurmond).

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