Runyon v. McCrary

Runyon v. McCrary (1976) stands out because it was the first time the U.S. Supreme Court was asked to determine whether private schools were subject to Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and therefore prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race. The Court answered in the affirmative.

Facts of the Case

Section 1981 provides all persons with an equal right to enter into and enforce contracts and prohibits racial discrimination in contract formation. While Section 1981 expressly disallowed any discriminatory practices derived from public state action, the implicit question in Runyon was whether the authority of Congress extended to prevent racial discrimination of a private nature.

Runyon originated in the 1960s, when public school systems in southeastern United States were subjected to sweeping federal ...

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