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American Jewish Congress Asks Supreme Court to Bar Restrictive Covenants

November 23, 1947
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The American Jewish Congress today warned that racial and religious restrictions on the use and sale of land were creating “a dangerous despair and disbelief in democratic values.”

In a brief filed with the United States Supreme Court in four cases involving the constitutionality of court enforcement of “restrictive covenants” on real property, the Congress said “the right to obtain living space in the community, free from artificial restrictions based on race, color or religion, is as important as the rights of freedom of speech, press, religion and political activity which this Court has so jealously guarded. Indeed, other rights lose all significance where the right to the basic necessity of a place to live is denied.”

The American Jewish Congress filed its brief as a friend of the court with the consent of all parties. It urged that previous Supreme Court decisions had held that the Constitution prohibited all discrimination except that which resulted from “voluntary individual action,” and that “educational, economic and social forces have a chance to be more effective if individual decisions cannot be petrified by laws or courts.”

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