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U.S. Supreme Court

Colorado Comm'n v. Continental Air Lines, Inc., 372 U.S. 714 (1963)

Colorado Anti-Discrimination Commission v.

Continental Air Lines, Inc.

No. 146

Argued March 28, 1963

Decided April 22, 1963*

372 U.S. 714


After administrative hearings, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Commission found that respondent, an interstate air carrier with headquarters in Colorado, had, within that State, rejected the application of a Negro for a job as a pilot solely because of his race, and that this was an unfair employment practice prohibited by the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act of 1957, and it ordered respondent to cease and desist from such discriminatory practices and to give the complainant the first opportunity to enroll in its training school in its next course. On review, a state court held that the Act could not constitutionally be applied to the flight crew of an interstate air carrier, and it set aside the Commission's findings and dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court of Colorado affirmed.

Held: the judgment is reversed and the cause is remanded for further proceedings. Pp. 372 U. S. 716-725.

(a) The judgment below does not rest upon an independent and adequate state ground, but upon the State Supreme Court's application and interpretation of the Federal Constitution, federal statutes and Executive Orders, and this Court has jurisdiction on certiorari. P. 372 U. S. 718.

(b) Colorado's requirement that respondent refrain from racial discrimination in its hiring of pilots in that State does not unduly burden interstate commerce. Hall v. DeCuir, 95 U. S. 485, and Morgan v. Virginia, 328 U. S. 373, distinguished. Pp. 372 U. S. 718-722.

(c) This field has not been so pervasively covered or preempted by the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, now the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, the Railway Labor Act, or Executive Orders as to prevent Colorado from applying its Anti-Discrimination Act to respondent, as it did here. Pp. 372 U. S. 722-725.

149 Colo. 259, 368 P. 2d 970, reversed.

Page 372 U. S. 716

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