DANIEL V. PAUL, 395 U. S. 298 (1969)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Daniel v. Paul, 395 U.S. 298 (1969)

Daniel v. Paul

No. 488

Argued March 24-25, 1969

Decided June 2, 1969

395 U.S. 298


Lake Nixon Club is an amusement place owned by respondent and his wife, located 12 miles from Little Rock, Ark. It has recreation facilities, including swimming, boating, and dancing, and a snack bar serving four food items, at least three of which contain ingredients coming from outside the State. The Club leases 15 paddle boats on a royalty basis from an Oklahoma company (from which it purchased one boat) and operates a juke box which, along with records it plays, is manufactured outside Arkansas. The Club is advertised in a monthly magazine distributed at Little Rock hotels, motels, and restaurants, in a monthly newspaper published at a nearby Air Force base, and over two area radio stations. Approximately 100,000 whites patronize the establishment each season and are routinely furnished "membership" cards in the "club," on payment of a 25� fee. Negroes are denied admission. Petitioners, Negro residents of Little Rock, brought this class action to enjoin respondent from denying them admission to the Lake Nixon Club, alleging that it is a "public accommodation" subject to the provisions of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and that respondent violated the Act by refusing petitioners admission solely on racial grounds. Title II prohibits racial discrimination at places of public accommodation whose operations affect commerce. The District Court, though finding that petitioners had been refused admission solely because they were Negroes and that the Lake Nixon Club is not a private club (to which Title II does not apply), dismissed the complaint on the ground that the establishment is not a "public accommodation" within the meaning of the Act. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Section 201(b) of the Act includes among the categories of covered public accommodations: "(2) any restaurant, . . . lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises . . . ," "(3) any . . . place of . . . entertainment," and "(4) any establishment . . . within the premises of which is physically located any such covered establishment, and . . . which holds itself out as serving patrons of such covered establishment." Under § 201(c), a place of public accommodation

Page 395 U. S. 299

affects commerce if "(2). . . [it is an establishment described in § 201(b)(2) and] serves or offers to serve interstate travelers or a substantial portion of the food it serves . . . has moved in commerce; (3) [it is an establishment described in § 201(b)(3) and] customarily presents films, performances, . . . or other sources of entertainment which move in commerce;" or "(4) [it is an establishment described in § 201(b)(4) and] there is physically located within its premises, an establishment the operations of which affect commerce. . . ."


1. Lake Nixon Club, as the courts below correctly held, is not a private club, since it routinely affords "membership" to all whites, and has none of the attributes of self-government and member ownership traditionally associated with private clubs. Pp. 395 U. S. 301-302.

2. The Lake Nixon Club's snack bar is a "place of public accommodation" under § 201(b)(2) of the Act, since it is "principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises." Pp. 395 U. S. 302-304.

3. The operations of the snack bar "affect commerce" under § 201(c)(2) of the Act. P. 395 U. S. 304.

(a) The owners' choice of advertising media leaves no doubt that they seek a broad-based patronage from an audience they know includes interstate travelers, and it would be unrealistic to assume that none of the 100,000 patrons served each season is an interstate traveler. P. 395 U. S. 304.

(b) A "substantial portion of the food" served at the snack bar has moved in interstate commerce. P. 395 U. S. 305.

4. The snack bar's status as a covered establishment automatically brings the entire Lake Nixon Club facility within the coverage of Title II of the Act by virtue of §§ 201(b)(4) and 201(c)(4). P. 395 U. S. 305.

5. The Lake Nixon Club is a covered accommodation under §§ 201(b)(3) and 201(c)(3) of the Act, as it is a "place of entertainment," which, in the light of the overriding purpose of Title II to remove discriminatory denials of access to public facilities, includes recreational areas, and is not, as respondent argues, limited to spectator entertainment. Pp. 395 U. S. 305-308.

6. The Club's operations clearly "affect commerce" within the meaning of § 201(c)(3), since the paddle boats and the juke box and its records are "sources of entertainment [that] move in commerce." P. 395 U. S. 308.

395 F.2d 118, reversed.

Page 395 U. S. 300

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