Truax v. Raich
239 U.S. 33 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Truax v. Raich, 239 U.S. 33 (1915)

Truax v. Raich

No. 361

Argued October 15, 1915

Decided November 1, 1915

239 U.S. 33

Syllabus

A suit against officers of the State who are about to proceed wrongfully to complainant's injury in enforcing an unconstitutional statute is not a suit against the State within the meaning of the Eleventh Amendment.

While, generally speaking, a court of equity has no jurisdiction over prosecution, punishment or pardon of crimes or misdemeanors, equity may, when such action is essential to the safeguarding of property rights, restrain criminal prosecutions under unconstitutional statutes.

The right to earn a livelihood and to continue employment unmolested by efforts to enforce void enactments is entitled to protection in equity in the absence of an adequate remedy at law.

The fact that an employment is at the will of the employer and employee does not make it one at the will of others, and unjustified interference of third parties is actionable although the employment may be at will.

Although a statute may only render an employer liable to prosecution if it operates directly upon the employment of the employee and its enforcement would compel the discharge of an employe, the latter is affected directly, has no adequate remedy at law, and if the statute is unconstitutional, is entitled to equitable relief.

An alien admitted to the United States under the Federal law has not only the privilege of entering and abiding in the United States, but also of entering and abiding in any State, and being an inhabitant of any State entitles him, under the Fourteenth Amendment, to the equal protection of its laws.

Page 239 U. S. 34

The description in the Fourteenth Amendment of any person within the jurisdiction of the United States includes aliens. Yick Wo v. Hopkins,118 U. S. 356.

The right to work for a living in the common occupations of the community is of the essence of that personal freedom and opportunity which it was the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment to secure.

The power to control immigration -- to admit or exclude aliens -- is vested solely in the Federal Government, and the States may not deprive aliens so admitted of the right to earn a livelihood, as that would be tantamount to denying their entrance and abode.

A State may not, in order to protect citizens of the United States, in their employment against noncitizens of the United States in that State, require that employers only employ a specified percentage of alien employes -- such a statute denies to alien inhabitants the equal protection of the law, and so held as to statute of Arizona of December 14, 1914.

Such a statute is not the less unconstitutional because it allows employers to employ a specified percentage of alien employes.

The rule that a State may recognize degrees of evil and adapt its legislation accordingly applies to matters concerning which the State has authority to legislate.

Whether the statute of Arizona attempting to regulate employment of aliens is void as conflicting with rights of aliens under treaties with their respective nations not determined in this case, as the statute is held unconstitutional under the equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment.

219 Fed. Rep. 273, affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Act of December 14, 1914, of the State of Arizona relative to the employment of aliens in that State, are stated in the opinion.

Page 239 U. S. 35

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