Butchers’ Benevolent Assn. of New Orleans v. Crescent City Livestock Landing and Slaughter-House Co.
83 U.S. 36 (1873)

  • The Louisiana legislature granted a monopoly to Crescent City to slaughter cattle in New Orleans.
    • Basically, if you were a butcher, you had to work for Crescent City or you couldn’t work at all.
  • Local butchers sued, claiming that the monopoly violated a number of their Constitutional rights.
    • The butchers based their claims on the due process, privileges or immunities and equal protection clauses in the 14th Amendment.
  • A number of different lawsuits were brought, but they all ended up combined into one big US Supreme Court case.
    • Crescent City won all of the lower court decisions.
  • The US Supreme Court found that the 14th Amendment, does not automatically apply to the States.
    • The US Supreme Court found that the 14th Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause was not violated because it only affected rights of United States citizenship and not State citizenship.
      • Basically, the Court said that the Privileges or Immunities Clause only applies to actions taken by the Federal government, not to actions taken by State or local governments.
        • See Barron v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore (32 U.S. (7 Pct.) 243 (1833)).
      • The Privileges or Immunities Clause has been considered pretty much dead since this ruling, at least until 1999.
        • See Saenz v. Roe (526 U.S. 489 (1999)).
    • The Court found that the Due Process Clause was not violated because it did not protect the right to ‘practice a trade’.
      • This was quickly overruled, and now the Due Process Clause is used to protect a large number of rights, including the right to an abortion.
    • The Court found that the Equal Protection Clause was not violated because it was primarily intended to protect former slaves and wasn’t meant to be applied to people who weren’t ex-slaves.
      • This was also later overruled and the Equal Protection Clause is now used to prevent a number of discriminatory practices, such as gender discrimination.