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U.S. Jewish Groups Appeal to Supreme Court on Restrictive Pacts

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The United States Supreme Court was asked today in an amices curiae brief filed by the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League of British to uphold its ban against restrictive covenants in property deeds.

The case came to the highest court on appeal by three Los Angeles home owners who had asked money damages in the California courts from a woman who failed to include the restrictive covenants when she sold her home. Later, the property was occupied by Negro. Arguing that the case of Shelley vs., Kraemer, decided in 1948, was intended by the U.S. Supreme Court to bar any court enforcement of racial restrictive covenants, the brief states:

“Any narrow interpretation of this Court’s decision in the restrictive covenant cases which would countenance suits for damages, would revive the effectiveness of racial covenants as a tool to perpetrate ghettos, black belts and restricted residential neighborhoods where Americans would be excluded, through the assistance of the courts, on the grounds of race, color, religion or nationality. This would result in a denial of rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.”

The certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court was filed by Olive B. Barrows, Richard Pikaar and M. M. O’Gara of Los Angeles, whose action for damages against Leola Jackson of Los Angeles was dismissed by the Superior Court of Los Angeles. Two subsequent appeals by the three plaintiffs both were denied by the District Court of Appeal, Second Appellate Department Los Angeles.

Sold February 2, 1950 by Leola Jackson, who did not include the proscriptive racial covenant in her deed, the property in question was later occupied by Negroes. The action for damages by the three plaintiffs was for the defendant’s failure to incorporate the racial restrictive covenant in her deed of February 2, 1950.

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