The Vinson Court (1946–53)


CourtSpeak: Shelley v. Kraemer Restrictive Covenant Case (1948)

Chief Justice Fred Vinson (unanimous): “Equal protection of the laws is not achieved through indiscriminate imposition of inequalities…. The Constitution confers upon no individual the right to demand action by the State which results in the denial of equal protection of the laws to other individuals. And it would appear beyond question that the power of the State to create and enforce property interests must be exercised within the boundaries defined by the Fourteenth Amendment….

“The historical context in which the Fourteenth Amendment became a part of the Constitution should not be forgotten. Whatever else the framers sought to achieve, it is clear that the matter of primary concern was the establishment of equality in the enjoyment of basic civil and political rights and the preservation of those rights from discriminatory action on the part of the States based on considerations of race or color.”


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