Summary of Butchers’ Benevolent Association v. Crescent City Livestock Landing and Slaughterhouse Co.
FACTS: The Louisiana legislature passed an act in 1869 to clean up the Mississippi River from the dumping of refuse into the river from the many small independent slaughterhouses. In the act, the legislature prohibited all landing and slaughtering of livestock in the city of New Orleans or the surrounding parishes except at one large slaughterhouse, which was granted an exclusive franchise for 25 years. The Butchers’ Benevolent Association challenged the act on the grounds that it violated the Thirteenth Amendment and the Privileges and Immunities, Due Process, and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
QUESTION: Is the legislative act by the state of Louisiana in violation of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments, which include the Privileges and Immunities, Due Process, and Equal Protection Clauses?
REASON: The Justices supporting the decision felt the spirit of the amendments at question were designed to remedy the evils set forth by former slavery and other related issues during an era of excited unrest.
DISSENTING: Mr. Justice Field, Mr. Justice Chase, and Mr. Justice Swayne, Mr. Justice Bradley.
OPINION: The decision held by the Supreme Court is one that fails to interpret the vision held by the providers of the amendments in question. The language found in the 14th amendment seems to be very clear regardless of what the spirit may have been. When these amendments are written they are worded very carefully. It seems all too reasonable that if indeed these were influenced by the injustices of the Civil War period then it would only be natural to word these amendments in a broad fashion in order to make sure these and other state sponsored injustices could be avoided by all. I feel the amendments were put into place so that no person shall be exposed to such tyranny. A tyrannical government cannot be avoided if these amendments are interpreted as in this. After all, what’s to stop them?