Railroad Comm'n of Texas v. Pullman Co.
312 U.S. 496 (1941)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Railroad Comm'n of Texas v. Pullman Co., 312 U.S. 496 (1941)

Railroad Commission of Texas v. Pullman Company

No. 283

Argued February 4, 1941

Decided March 3, 1941

312 U.S. 496

Syllabus

A railroad company, some of whose trains in Texas had each but one Pullman sleeping car and that in charge of a colored porter subject to the control of the train conductor, assailed in the federal court, as unauthorized by Texas statutes and as violative of the Federal Constitution, a regulation by a state commission which would require that such cars be continuously in charge of an employee "having the rank and position of a Pullman conductor." Pullman porters, intervening, also attacked the order, adopting the railroad's objections but urging mainly that it discriminated against Negroes in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, Pullman porters being Negroes and the conductors white.

Held:

Page 312 U. S. 497

1. Decision of the issue of unconstitutional discrimination should be withheld pending proceedings to be taken in the state courts to secure a definitive construction of the state statute. P. 312 U. S. 498.

2. The federal courts, when asked for the extraordinary remedy of injunction, will exercise a sound discretion in the public interest to avoid needless friction with state policies that may result from tentative constructions of state statutes and premature adjudication on their constitutionality. P. 312 U. S. 500.

33 F.Supp. 675, reversed.

APPEAL from a decree of the District Court of three judges which enjoined the enforcement of an order of the above-named Railroad Commission.

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