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Railroad Commission of Texas v. Pullman Co.

United States Supreme Court
312 U.S. 496 (1941)



The Pullman Company (Pullman) (plaintiff) ran trains on Texas train tracks. The Railroad Commission of Texas (Commission) (defendant) ordered that all sleeping cars on state tracks had to be supervised by an employee with the rank of “Pullman conductor.” The order was in response to a practice of lower-ranking porters being placed in charge of sleeping cars on trains with only one sleeping car. It was well-known that porters on Pullman cars were black individuals, and Pullman conductors were white. Pullman brought suit in federal district court, seeking injunctive relief to enjoin enforcement of the Commission’s order. The complaint alleged that the order violated state law and the United States Constitution. Texas Civil Statutes, Article 6445, granted the Commission governing authority over the state railroads and included the power to prevent unjust discrimination and abuses in the conduct of the railroads. The Pullman porters intervened as plaintiffs, alleging racial discrimination. The Pullman conductors intervened in support of the Commission’s order. A three-judge panel of the district court enjoined the order, and the case was appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Frankfurter, J.)

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