United States President John F. Kennedy addresses the nation on civil rights on June 11, 1963
U.S. Senator from Michigan Jacob M. Howard, author of the Citizenship Clause
Following the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, civil rights leaders met with President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson to discuss civil rights legislation.
Rep. John Bingham of Ohio was the principal author of the Equal Protection Clause
First page of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Thurgood Marshall served as chief counsel in the landmark Fourteenth Amendment decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X at the United States Capitol on March 26, 1964, listening to the Senate debate on the bill. This was the only time the two men ever met; their meeting lasted only one minute.
Senate and House votes on the Fourteenth Amendment
United States President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among the guests behind him is Martin Luther King Jr.
Form of the Letter of Transmittal of the Fourteenth Amendment to the several states for its ratification
A map showing the each Senator's Vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The record of the roll call vote kept by the House Clerk on final passage of the bill
Engrossing copy of H.R. 7152, which added sex to the categories of persons against whom the bill prohibited discrimination, as passed by the House of Representatives
United States President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks to a television camera at the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964
A map showing the each Senator's Vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964), was a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States holding that the Commerce Clause gave the U.S. Congress power to force private businesses to abide by Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or national origin in public accommodations.

- Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States

Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment, and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment.

- Civil Rights Act of 1964

Rolleston also asserted that racial discrimination by an individual is not prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment or the Constitution, claiming that discrimination is a private wrong that individuals are allowed to commit.

- Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States

However, Congress can sometimes reach such discrimination via other parts of the Constitution such as the Commerce Clause which Congress used to enact the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- the Supreme Court upheld this approach in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964).

- Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

In Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964), the Supreme Court held that Congress drew its authority from the Constitution's Commerce Clause, rejecting Rolleston's claims.

- Civil Rights Act of 1964
United States President John F. Kennedy addresses the nation on civil rights on June 11, 1963

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Commerce Clause

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Enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution .

Enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution .

The wide interpretation of the scope of the Commerce Clause continued following the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which aimed to prevent business from discriminating against black customers.

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States,, ruled that Congress could regulate a business that served mostly interstate travelers.

The Court found in Seminole Tribe v. Florida, that unlike the Fourteenth Amendment, the Commerce Clause does not give the federal government the power to abrogate the sovereign immunity of the states.