The Waite Court (1874–88)

Racial Discrimination/civil Rights

In what decision did the Waite Court affirm the conviction of a judge who excluded blacks from juries?

In Ex Parte Virginia (1879), the Waite Court ruled that Virginia judge J. D. Coles could be punished for refusing to allow African Americans to serve on juries in the Pittsylvania County Courthouse in Chatham, Virginia. “We do not perceive how holding an office under a State, and claiming to act for the State, can relieve the holder from obligation to obey the Constitution of the United States, or take away the power of Congress to punish his disobedience,” Justice William Strong wrote for the Court.

U.S. Supreme Court justice Stanley Matthews (above), in writing the Court’s opinion on Yick Wo v. Hopkins, said that discrimination against Chinese launderers was illegal and that “no reason for it exists except hostility to the race and nationality to which the petitioners belong, and which, in the eye of the law, is not justified. Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

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