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California Supreme Court Upholds Law Banning Discrimination in Business

April 4, 1962
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The California Supreme Court has upheld a state law banning discrimination by business establishments of all kinds, including real estate firms.

The decision also held constitutional the Hawkins act barring discrimination in publicly assisted housing. Chief Justice Phil S. Gibson declared in the opinion that “discrimination in housing leads to lack of adequate housing for minority groups and inadequate housing conditions contribute to disease, crime and immorality.”

In a related case, the court ruled that a real estate broker who tried in good faith to find housing for a member of a minority group but failed could not be held liable if he could not complete the transaction because of the owner’s refusal to sell.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which has before it a city fair housing ordinance, was studying the Supreme Court decision. The City Attorney was asked to determine whether the state anti-bias act upheld by the Supreme Court preempted the field and made housing discrimination laws entirely a state matter.

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