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U.S. Supreme Court

Butts v. Merchants & Miners Transportation Co., 230 U.S. 126 (1913)

Butts v. Merchants & Miners Transportation Company

No. 131

Argued January 21, 1913

Decided June 16, 1913

230 U.S. 126


Where the greater part of a statute is unconstitutional as beyond the power of Congress, the question for the court to determine as to the part which is constitutional is whether it was the intent of Congress to have that part stand by itself -- if not, the whole statute falls.

This Court holds that it was the evident intent of Congress, in enacting the Civil Rights Act, to provide for its uniform operation in all places in the states as well as the territories within the jurisdiction of the United States, aud that it was not the intent of Congress that the provisions of the statute should be applicable only to such places

Page 230 U. S. 127

as are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the national government. The provisions of the Civil Rights Act having been declared unconstitutional as to their operation within the states, Civil Rights Cases, 109 U. S. 3, they are not separable as to their operation in such places as are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the national government, and the statute is therefore unconstitutional in its entirety. The Trade Mark Cases, 100 U. S. 82. The enforcement of a remedial statute, such as the Employers' Liability Act, in territories of the United States, although unconstitutional as to the states, is distinguishable from the similar enforcement of a highly penal statute such as the Civil Rights Act. El Paso &c. Railway Co. v. Gutierrez, 215 U. S. 87, distinguished.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of §§ 1 and 2 of the Civil Rights Act of March 1, 1875, as applied to vessels of the United States engaged in the coastwise trade, are stated in the opinion.

Page 230 U. S. 130

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