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assertions in the motions to dismiss that the indenture or covenant which is the basis of the bill, is " void " in that it is contrary to and forbidden by the Fifth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. This contention is entirely lacking in substance or color of merit. The Fifth Amendment "is a limitation only upon the powers of the General Government," Talton v. Mayes, 163 U. S. 376, 382, and is not directed against the action of individuals. The Thirteenth Amendment denouncing slavery and involuntary servitude, that is, a condition of enforced compulsory service of one to another, does not in other matters protect the individual rights of persons of the negro race. Hodges v. United States, 203 U. S. 1, 16, 18. And the prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment "have reference to state action exclusively, and not to any action of private individuals." Virginia v. Rives, 100 U. S. 313, 318; United States v. Harris, 106 U. S. 629, 639. "It is State action of a particular character that is prohibited. Individual invasion of individual rights is not the subjectmatter of the Amendment." Civil Rights Cases, 109 U. S. 3, 11. It is obvious that none of these Amendments prohibited private individuals from entering into contracts respecting the control and disposition of their own property; and there is no color whatever for the contention that they rendered the indenture void. And, plainly. the claim urged in this Court that they were to be looked to, in connection with the provisions of the Revised Statutes and the decisions of the courts, in determining the contention, earnestly pressed, that the indenture is void as being "against public policy," does not involve a constitutional question within the meaning of the Code provision.
The claim that the defendants drew in question the construction" of §§ 1977, 1978 and 1979 of the Revised Statutes, is equally unsubstantial. The only question raised as to these statutes under the pleadings was the
assertion in the motion interposed by the defendant Curtis, that the indenture is void in that it is forbidden by the laws enacted in aid and under the sanction of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. Assuming that this contention drew in question the "construction" of these statutes, as distinguished from their "application," it is obvious, upon their face, that while they provide, inter alia, that all persons and citizens shall have equal right with white citizens to make contracts and acquire property, they, like the Constitutional Amendment under whose sanction they were enacted, do not in any manner prohibit or invalidate contracts entered into by private individuals in respect to the control and disposition of their own property. There is no color for the contention that they rendered the indenture void; nor was it claimed in this Court that they had, in and of themselves, any such effect.
We therefore conclude that neither the constitutional nor statutory questions relied on as grounds for the appeal to this Court have any substantial quality or color of merit, or afford any jurisdictional basis for the appeal.
And, while it was further urged in this Court that the decrees of the courts below in themselves deprived the defendants of their liberty and property without due process of law, in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, this contention likewise cannot serve as a jurisdictional basis for the appeal. Assuming that such a contention, if of a substantial character, might have constituted ground for an appeal under paragraph 3 of the Code provision, it was not raised by the petition for the appeal or by any assignment of error, either in the Court of Appeals or in this Court; and it likewise is lacking in substance. The defendants were given a full hearing in both courts; they were not denied any constitutional or statutory right; and there is no semblance of ground for any contention that the decrees were so plainly arbitrary
and contrary to law as to be acts of mere spoliation. See Delmar Jockey Club v. Missouri, supra, 335. Mere error of a court, if any there be, in a judgment entered after a full hearing, does not constitute a denial of due process of law. Central Land Co. v. Laidley, 159 U. S. 103, 112; Jones v. Buffalo Creek Coal Co., 245 U. S. 328, 329.
It results that, in the absence of any substantial constitutional or statutory question giving us jurisdiction of this appeal under the provisions of § 250 of the Judicial Code, we cannot determine upon the merits the contentions earnestly pressed by the defendants in this court that the indenture is not only void because contrary to public policy, but is also of such a discriminatory character that a court of equity will not lend its aid by enforcing the specific performance of the covenant. These are questions involving a consideration of rules not expressed in any constitutional or statutory provision, but claimed to be a part of the common or general law in force in the District of Columbia; and, plainly, they may not be reviewed under this appeal unless jurisdiction of the case is otherwise acquired.
Hence, without a consideration of these questions, the appeal must be, and is
Dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
UNITED STATES v. ZERBEY ET AL.
ON CERTIFICATE FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT.
No. 790. Argued March 3, 1926.-Decided May 24, 1926.
A surety bond, required by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue under § 6, Tit. II of the Prohibition Act, in connection with a permit issued to the obligor to sell wines and distilled spirits for other than beverage purposes, and conditioned "that if the said
GONG LUM ET AL. v. RICE ET AL.
(275 U.S. 78 (1927))
ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI. No. 29. Submitted October 12, 1927-Decided November 21, 1927.
A child of Chinese blood, born in, and a citizen of, the United States, is not denied the equal protection of the laws by being classed by the State among the colored races who are assigned to public schools separate from those provided for the whites, when equal facilities for education are afforded to both classes. P. 85.
139 Miss. 760, affirmed.
ERROR to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Mississippi, reversing a judgment awarding the writ of mandamus. The writ was applied for in the interest of Martha Lum, a child of Chinese blood, born in the United States, and was directed to the trustees of a high school district and the State Superintendant of Education, commanding them to cease discriminating against her and to admit her to the privileges of the high school specified, which was assigned to white children exclusively.
Messrs. J. N. Flowers, Earl Brewer, and Edward C. Brewer for plaintiff in error.
The white, or Caucasian, race, which makes the laws and construes and enforces them, thinks that in order to protect itself against the infusion of the blood of other races its children must be kept in schools from which other races are excluded. The classification is made for the exclusive benefit of the law-making race. The basic assumption is that if the children of two races associate daily in the school room the two races will at last intermix; that the purity of each is jeopardized by the mingling of the children in the school room; that such association among children means social intercourse and social equality. This danger, the white race, by its laws, seeks to divert from itself. It levies the taxes on all alike to
support a public school system, but in the organization of the system it creates its own exclusive schools for its children, and other schools for the children of all other races to attend together.
If there is danger in the association, it is a danger from which one race is entitled to protection just the same as another. The white race may not legally expose the yellow race to a danger that the dominant race recognizes and, by the same laws, guards itself against. The white race creates for itself a privilege that it denies to other races; exposes the children of other races to risks and dangers to which it would not expose its own children. This is discrimination. Lehew v. Brummell, 103 Mo. 549; Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U. S. 303.
Color may reasonably be used as a basis for classification only in so far as it indicates a particular race. Race may reasonably be used as a basis. Colored" describes
only one race, and that is the negro. State v. Treadway, 126 La. 52; Lehew v. Brummell, supra; Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U. S. 537; Berea College v. Kentucky, 133 Ky. 209; West Chester R. R. v. Miles, 55 Pa. St. 209; Tucker v. Blease, 97 S. C. 303.
Messrs. Rush H. Knox, Attorney General of Mississippi, and E. C. Sharp for defendants in error.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.
This was a petition for mandamus filed in the state Circuit Court of Mississippi for the First Judicial District of Bolivar County.
Gong Lum is a resident of Mississippi, resides in the Rosedale Consolidated High School District, and is the father of Martha Lum. He is engaged in the mercantile business. Neither he nor she was connected with the consular service or any other service of the government of China, or any other government, at the time of her birth,