United States v. Johnson (1968)

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United States v. Johnson
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued March 14, 1968
Decided April 8, 1968
Full case name United States v. Johnson, et al.
Citations 390 U.S. 563 (more)
88 S. Ct. 1231; 20 L. Ed. 2d 132; 1968 U.S. LEXIS 2001
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Douglas, joined by Warren, Brennan, White, Fortas
Dissent Stewart, joined by Black, Harlan
Marshall took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

United States v. Johnson, 390 U.S. 563 (1968), was a United States Supreme Court case.

Background[edit]

Defendants were indicted under the federal civil rights statute (18 USC 241) for a conspiracy to injure and intimidate three African Americans in the exercise of their right to patronize a restaurant under the "Public Accommodations" part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Defendants were outsiders not connected with the restaurant. The District Court granted a motion to dismiss the indictment on the ground that 207(b) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes the provision for relief by injunction the exclusive remedy under the Act. (269 F Supp 706)

Opinion of the Court[edit]

Justice Douglas reversed for a 5-3 majority. He held that the provisions of 207(b) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 making the remedies provided in the "Public Accommodations" part of the Act the exclusive means of enforcing rights based on such part do not preclude a criminal prosecution of the defendants under 18 USC 241, since the exclusive-remedy provision applies only to enforcement of substantive rights to public accommodations against proprietors and owners, and does not purport to deal with outsiders who use violence against those who assert their rights under the Act.

Dissent[edit]

Justice Stewart dissented on the ground that the plain language of the exclusive remedies clause clearly precludes a criminal prosecution for interfering with rights secured by the "Public Accommodations" part of the Act.