Boynton v. Virginia
364 U.S. 454 (1960)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Boynton v. Virginia, 364 U.S. 454 (1960)

Boynton v. Virginia

No. 7

Argued October 12, 1960

Decided December 5, 1960

364 U.S. 454

Syllabus

For refusing to leave the section reserved for white people in a restaurant in a bus terminal, petitioner, a Negro interstate bus passenger, was convicted in Virginia courts of violating a state statute making it a misdemeanor for any person "without authority of law" to remain upon the premises of another after having been forbidden to do so. On appeal, he contended that his conviction violated the Interstate Commerce Act and the Equal Protection, Due Process and Commerce Clauses of the Federal Constitution; but his conviction was sustained by the State Supreme Court. On petition for certiorari to this Court, he raised only the constitutional questions.

Held:

1. Notwithstanding the fact that the petition for certiorari presented only the constitutional questions this Court will consider the statutory issue, which involves essentially the same problem -- racial discrimination in interstate commerce. P. 364 U. S. 457.

2. Under § 216(d) of the Interstate Commerce Act, which forbids any interstate common carrier by motor vehicle to subject any person to unjust discrimination, petitioner had a federal right to remain in the white portion of the restaurant, he was there "under authority of law," and it was error to affirm his conviction. Pp. 364 U. S. 457-463.

(a) When a bus carrier has volunteered to make terminal and restaurant facilities and services available to its interstate passengers as a regular part of their transportation, and the terminal and restaurant have acquiesced and cooperated in this undertaking, the terminal and restaurant must perform these services without discriminations prohibited by the Act. Pp. 364 U. S. 457-461.

(b) Although the courts below made no findings of fact, the evidence in this case shows such a situation here. Pp. 364 U. S. 461-463.

Reversed.

Page 364 U. S. 455

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