Boynton v. Virginia/Dissent Whittaker

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Boynton v. Virginia by Charles Evans Whittaker
Dissenting Opinion
Boynton v. Virginia, 364 U.S. 454 (1960) was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. The case overturned a judgment convicting an African American law student for trespassing by being in a restaurant in a bus terminal which was "whites only." It held that racial segregation in public transportation was illegal because such segregation violated the Interstate Commerce Act, which broadly forebade discrimination in interstate passenger transportation. It moreover held that bus transportation was sufficiently related to interstate commerce to allow the United States Federal government to regulate it to forbid racial discrimination in the industry. The majority opinion was written by Justice Hugo Black.Excerpted from Boynton v. Virginia on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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Opinion of the Court
Dissenting Opinion
Whittaker

MR. JUSTICE WHITTAKER, with whom MR. JUSTICE CLARK joins, dissenting.

Neither in the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia nor in his petition for certiorari or in his brief on the merits in this Court did petitioner challenge the judgment on the ground that it was obtained in violation of the Interstate Commerce Act. I therefore respectfully submit that, under our rules and decisions, no such question is presented or open for consideration here.[1] But even if the Court properly may proceed, as it has proceeded, to decide the case under that Act, and not at all on the constitutional grounds solely relied on by petitioner.[2] I must say, with all deference, that the facts in this record do not show that petitioner was convicted of trespass in violation of that Act.

For me, the decisive question in this case is whether petitioner had a legal right to remain in the restaurant [364 U.S. 454, 465] involved after being ordered to leave it by the proprietor. If he did not have that legal right, however arising, he was guilty of trespass and, unless proscribed by some federal law, his conviction therefor was legally adjudged under 18-225 of the Code of Virginia.[3]

If the facts in this record could fairly be said to show that the restaurant was a facility "operated or controlled by any [motor] carrier or carriers, and used in the transportation of passengers or property in interstate or foreign commerce," 203 (a) (19) of Part II of the Interstate Commerce Act, 49 U.S.C. 303 (a) (19), I would agree that petitioner had a legal right to remain in and to insist on service by that restaurant and, hence, was not guilty of trespass in so remaining and insisting though in defiance of the manager's order to leave, for 216 (d) of the Act, 49 U.S.C. 316 (d), makes it unlawful for a motor carrier while engaged in interstate commerce "to subject any particular person . . . to any unjust discrimination," and this Court has held that any discrimination by a carrier against its interstate passenger on account of his color in the use of its dining facilities is an unjust discrimination. Henderson v. United States, 339 U.S. 816 . Cf. Mitchell v. United States, 313 U.S. 80 .

But I respectfully submit that those are not the facts shown by this record. As I read it, there is no evidence in this record even tending to show that the restaurant was "operated or controlled by any such carrier," directly or indirectly. Instead, all of the relevant evidence, none [364 U.S. 454, 466] of which was contradicted, shows that the restaurant was owned and controlled by a noncarrier who alone operated it as a local and private enterprise. The evidence was very brief, consisting only of an exhibit (a lease) and the testimony of the assistant manager of the restaurant, of a police officer and of petitioner - all, except the exhibit, being contained on 10 pages of the printed record. The lease is in the usual and common form and terms. By it, the owner of the building, Trailways Bus Terminal, Inc., a Virginia corporation, as lessor, demised to the restaurant company, Bus Terminal Restaurant of Richmond, Inc., a Virginia corporation, as lessee, certain described "space" in the lessor's bus station building in Richmond, Virginia, "for use by Lessee as a restaurant, lunchroom, soda fountain and news stand," for a term of five years from December 2, 1953 (with an option in the lessee to renew, on the same terms, for an additional five-year term), at an annual rental of $30,000 (payable in equal monthly installments) plus 12% of lessee's gross receipts from the demised premises in excess of $275,000 (payable at the end of each year).[4]}} [364 U.S. 454, 467]

There is not a word of evidence that any carrier had any interest in or control over the lessee or its restaurant. Nor is there any suggestion in the record that the lease or the lessee's restaurant operations under it were anything other than bona fide and for a legitimate and private business purpose. Indeed, there is not a word of evidence in the record tending to show that any carrier even had any interest in or control over the lessor corporation that owned the building. In truth, the record does not even show the name of the carrier on which petitioner was traveling or identify it other than as "Trailways."[5] On [364 U.S. 454, 468] the other hand, the assistant manager of the restaurant testified, without suggestion of contradiction, that "[t]he company that operates the restaurant is not affiliated in any way with the bus company," and that "[t]he bus company has no control over the operation of the restaurant." There was simply no evidence to the contrary.

The Court seems to agree that "[r]espondent correctly points out [that] . . . the evidence in this record does not show that the bus company owns or actively operates or directly controls the bus terminal or the restaurant in it." But it seems to hold, as I read its opinion, that a motor carrier's regular "use" of a restaurant, though it be "neither own[ed], control[led] nor operate[d]" by the motor carrier, makes the restaurant a facility "operated or controlled by [the motor] carrier or carriers" within the meaning of 203 (a) (19) of the Interstate Commerce Act. I must respectfully disagree. To me, it seems rather plain that when Congress, in 203 (a) (19), said that the "`services' and `transportation'" to which Part II of the Act applies shall include "all vehicles . . . together with all facilities and property operated or controlled by any such carrier or carriers, and used in the transportation of passengers or property in interstate or foreign commerce or in the performance of any service in connection therewith," it hardly meant to include a private restaurant, "neither owned, operated nor controlled" by a carrier. Surely such "use" of a private restaurant by a motor carrier as results from stopping and opening its buses in front of or near a restaurant does not make the restaurant a facility "operated or controlled by" the carrier, within the meaning of 203 (a) (19) or in any true sense. This simple, and I think obvious, principle was recognized and correctly applied by the Commission as recently as November 1955 in N. A. A. C. P. v. St. Louis, S. F. R. Co., 297 I. C. C. 335. There, the railroad terminal or station building in [364 U.S. 454, 469] Richmond, Virginia, was owned by Richmond Terminal Railway Company[6] - itself a carrier under 3 (1) of Part I of the Act - which had leased space in that building to Union News Company for a term of 10 years, but subject to termination at the option of either party on 90 days' notice, for use as a restaurant.[7] In rejecting the contention that the Union News Company's operation of the restaurant on a racially segregated basis violated 3 (1) of Part I of the Act, the Commission said:

"Unless the operation of the lunchrooms can be found to be that of a common carrier subject to part I of the act, it cannot be regulated under section 3 (1), and we are unable so to find on the facts before us." (Emphasis added.) Id., at 344.

and the Commission concluded:

"We further find that the operation by a lessee (noncarrier) of separate lunchroom facilities for white and colored persons in the railway station at Richmond, constitutes a function or service which is not within the jurisdiction of this Commission." (Emphasis added.) Id., at 348. [364 U.S. 454, 470]

I would agree with the Court that "if the bus carrier [had] volunteered to make . . . restaurant facilities and services available to its interstate passengers as a regular part of their transportation, and the . . . restaurant [had] acquiesced . . . in this undertaking," the restaurant would then have been bound to serve the carrier's interstate passengers without discrimination. For, in that case, the restaurant would have been made a facility of the carrier, within the meaning of 203 (a) (19), and 216 (d) would inhibit both the carrier and the restaurant from discriminating against the carrier's interstate passengers on account of their color, or on any other account, in the use of the restaurant facilities thus provided. Henderson v. United States, supra. But that is not this case. As we have shown, there is no evidence in this record that the carrier on which petitioner was traveling, whatever may have been its name, had "volunteered to make . . . restaurant facilities and services available to its interstate passengers" at this restaurant "as a regular part of their transportation," or that the proprietor of this restaurant ever "acquiesced" in any such "undertaking." There is no evidence of any agreement, express or implied, between the proprietor of this restaurant and any bus carrier. Instead, the undisputed evidence is that the restaurant was not in any way affiliated with or controlled by any bus carrier. On this evidence, I am unable to find any basis to support a conclusion that this restaurant was in some way made a facility of the bus carrier, or subject to Part II of the Interstate Commerce Act.

For these reasons, I cannot agree on this record that petitioner's conviction of trespass under 18-225 of the Code of Virginia was had in violation of the Interstate Commerce Act. Since the Court's opinion does not explore the constitutional grounds relied on by petitioner, I refrain from intimating any views on those subjects.

Footnotes[edit]

1^ See our Rules 23 (1) (c) and 40 (1) (d) (1): Lawn v. United States, 355 U.S. 339, 362 , n. 16, and cases cited.

2^ The only grounds relied on by petitioner in the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia and in his petition for certiorari and brief on the merits in this Court were that his conviction is invalid as an undue burden on interstate commerce in violation of Art. I, 8, cl. 3, and also violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

3^ Section 18-225 of the Code of Virginia, in relevant part, provides:

"If any person shall without authority of law go upon or remain upon the lands or premises of another, after having been forbidden to do so by the owner, lessee, custodian or other person lawfully in charge of such land, . . . he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or by confinement in jail not exceeding thirty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment."

4^ Under other provisions of the lease, the lessee covenanted, in substance, that it would acquire and install in the leased space, at its own expense, all things, including plumbing and wiring, which may be reasonably necessary to the equipment and operation of the restaurant; to provide and pay for all gas and electric current, except for overhead lights; to keep the premises and employees neat and clean and to operate the restaurant "in keeping with the character of service maintained in an up-to-date, modern bus terminal"; that it would not keep any coin-controlled machines or sell intoxicants on the demised premises nor make "any sales on buses operating in and out [of] said bus station"; that it would "comply with all the ordinances of the City of Richmond, and the laws of the United States and the State of Virginia in respect to the conduct of business of Lessee on the demised premises"; to take good care of the premises, and to surrender them at the end of the term in the same condition as when received "ordinary wear and tear excepted."

5^ Obviously recognizing these glaring deficiencies in the evidence, counsel for petitioner and for the Government, as amicus curiae, have submitted with their briefs in this Court copies of certain Annual Reports of Virginia Stage Lines, Inc. (which probably was the carrier on which petitioner was traveling), Carolina Coach Company, and of Trailways Bus Terminal, Inc. (the owner of the building and lessor of the space occupied by the lessee's restaurant), to the State Corporation Commission of Virginia, purporting to show that those companies were doing business in Virginia in 1958 and 1959, and a copy of certain pages of the Annual Report filed by Virginia Stage Lines, Inc., with the Interstate Commerce Commission for the year 1959, purporting to show that the capital stock of Trailways Bus Terminal, Inc., was owned in equal parts by Virginia Stage Lines, Inc., and Carolina Coach Company. But none of those documents was put in evidence nor brought to the attention of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, and it appears, as contended by Virginia, that the Virginia court could not take judicial notice of those documents. See 8-264 and 8-266 of the Code of Virginia; Commonwealth v. Castner, 138 Va. 81, 121 S. E. 894; Sisk v. Town of Shenandoah, 200 Va. 277, 105 S. E. 2d 169; Bell v. Hagmann, 200 Va. 626, 107 S. E. 2d 426. In the light of these facts the proffered documents cannot be considered here. Lawn v. United States, 355 U.S. 339, 354 ; Wolfe v. North Carolina, 364 U.S. 177 . But even if those documents could be considered here, they would not aid petitioner, for they do not purport to show that any carrier had any interest in or control over the restaurant involved or in or over Bus Terminal Restaurant of Richmond, the company that owned and operated the restaurant.

6^ The Richmond Terminal Railway Company was controlled jointly by two railroads - the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railway Co. and the Atlantic Coast Line.

7^ The lease involved in that case was evidently similar to the one here. Speaking of that lease, the Commission said:

"The lease is silent as to racial segregation. The terminal has certain powers of supervision for a purpose which may be described as policing. The lessee is obligated to `comply with the requirements of the Department of Public Health, City of Richmond, and with all other lawful governmental rules and regulations.' The context, however, indicates that this requirement is for the purpose of keeping the premises in a neat, clean, and orderly condition, and does not render the lessee liable for violations of the Interstate Commerce Act." 297 I. C. C., at 343. [364 U.S. 454, 471]