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The Constitution Project: Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause (2009)

We don't know a lot about Yick Wo. We're not even sure that was his name. But it was the name of the laundry business he owned in San Francisco in the late nineteenth century. And it was ... See full summary »

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Robe Imbriano ...
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We don't know a lot about Yick Wo. We're not even sure that was his name. But it was the name of the laundry business he owned in San Francisco in the late nineteenth century. And it was the name listed on a Supreme Court decision that forever changed American law. In 1880, the city of San Francisco passed a health and safety ordinance: all laundries in wooden buildings had to get the approval of the Board of Supervisors in order to obtain a license. The law, on its face, didn't single out the Chinese. But when it was applied, every Chinese laundry owner in the city was denied a permit -- and every white-owned laundry was granted a permit. Yick Wo challenged the ordinance, taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court. 'The holding of Yick Wo,' Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy says in the film, 'was that a law that's administered with an evil eye or an unequal hand violates your right to equal protection.' Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause examines the story of an ... Written by Anonymous

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September 2009 (USA)  »

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