Statutory Law - US Code - Title 42: Chapter 21: Civil Rights


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U.S. Code Title 42: The Public Health and Welfare


Chapter 21: Civil Rights

*Current through Public Law 112-173, August 16th, 2012.
**Selected Provisions Relevant to U.S. Intelligence Law

CHAPTER 21—CIVIL RIGHTS

SUBCHAPTER I—GENERALLY

42 USC § 1981. Equal rights under the law

(a) Statement of equal rights
All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.
(b) “Make and enforce contracts” defined
For purposes of this section, the term “make and enforce contracts” includes the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.
(c) Protection against impairment
The rights protected by this section are protected against impairment by nongovernmental discrimination and impairment under color of State law.
(R.S. §1977; Pub. L. 102–166, title I, §101, Nov. 21, 1991, 105 Stat. 1071.)

42 USC § 1981a. Damages in cases of intentional discrimination in employment

(a) Right of recovery
(1) Civil rights
In an action brought by a complaining party under section 706 or 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [42 U.S.C. 2000e–5, 2000e–16] against a respondent who engaged in unlawful intentional discrimination (not an employment practice that is unlawful because of its disparate impact) prohibited under section 703, 704, or 717 of the Act [42 U.S.C. 2000e–2, 2000e–3, 2000e–16], and provided that the complaining party cannot recover under section 1981 of this title, the complaining party may recover compensatory and punitive damages as allowed in subsection (b) of this section, in addition to any relief authorized by section 706(g) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, from the respondent.
(2) Disability
In an action brought by a complaining party under the powers, remedies, and procedures set forth in section 706 or 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [42 U.S.C. 2000e–5, 2000e–16] (as provided in section 107(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12117(a)), and section 794a(a)(1) of title 29, respectively) against a respondent who engaged in unlawful intentional discrimination (not an employment practice that is unlawful because of its disparate impact) under section 791 of title 29 and the regulations implementing section 791 of title 29, or who violated the requirements of section 791 of title 29 or the regulations implementing section 791 of title 29 concerning the provision of a reasonable accommodation, or section 102 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12112), or committed a violation of section 102(b)(5) of the Act, against an individual, the complaining party may recover compensatory and punitive damages as allowed in subsection (b) of this section, in addition to any relief authorized by section 706(g) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, from the respondent.
(3) Reasonable accommodation and good faith effort
In cases where a discriminatory practice involves the provision of a reasonable accommodation pursuant to section 102(b)(5) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [42 U.S.C. 12112(b)(5)] or regulations implementing section 791 of title 29, damages may not be awarded under this section where the covered entity demonstrates good faith efforts, in consultation with the person with the disability who has informed the covered entity that accommodation is needed, to identify and make a reasonable accommodation that would provide such individual with an equally effective opportunity and would not cause an undue hardship on the operation of the business.
(b) Compensatory and punitive damages
(1) Determination of punitive damages
A complaining party may recover punitive damages under this section against a respondent (other than a government, government agency or political subdivision) if the complaining party demonstrates that the respondent engaged in a discriminatory practice or discriminatory practices with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of an aggrieved individual.
(2) Exclusions from compensatory damages
Compensatory damages awarded under this section shall not include backpay, interest on backpay, or any other type of relief authorized under section 706(g) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [42 U.S.C. 2000e–5(g)].
(3) Limitations
The sum of the amount of compensatory damages awarded under this section for future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other nonpecuniary losses, and the amount of punitive damages awarded under this section, shall not exceed, for each complaining party—
(A) in the case of a respondent who has more than 14 and fewer than 101 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, $50,000;
(B) in the case of a respondent who has more than 100 and fewer than 201 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, $100,000; and
(C) in the case of a respondent who has more than 200 and fewer than 501 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, $200,000; and
(D) in the case of a respondent who has more than 500 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, $300,000.
(4) Construction
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the scope of, or the relief available under, section 1981 of this title.
(c) Jury trial
If a complaining party seeks compensatory or punitive damages under this section—
(1) any party may demand a trial by jury; and
(2) the court shall not inform the jury of the limitations described in subsection (b)(3) of this section.
(d) Definitions
As used in this section:
(1) Complaining party
The term “complaining party” means—
(A) in the case of a person seeking to bring an action under subsection (a)(1) of this section, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Attorney General, or a person who may bring an action or proceeding under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.); or
(B) in the case of a person seeking to bring an action under subsection (a)(2) of this section, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Attorney General, a person who may bring an action or proceeding under section 794a(a)(1) of title 29, or a person who may bring an action or proceeding under title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [42 U.S.C. 12111 et seq.].
(2) Discriminatory practice
The term “discriminatory practice” means the discrimination described in paragraph (1), or the discrimination or the violation described in paragraph (2), of subsection (a) of this section.
(R.S. §1977A, as added Pub. L. 102–166, title I, §102, Nov. 21, 1991, 105 Stat. 1072.)

42 USC § 1982. Property rights of citizens

All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property.
(R.S. §1978.)

42 USC § 1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.
(R.S. §1979; Pub. L. 96–170, §1, Dec. 29, 1979, 93 Stat. 1284; Pub. L. 104–317, title III, §309(c), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3853.)

42 USC § 1985. Conspiracy to interfere with civil rights

(1) Preventing officer from performing duties
If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof; or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave any State, district, or place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties;
(2) Obstructing justice; intimidating party, witness, or juror
If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire to deter, by force, intimidation, or threat, any party or witness in any court of the United States from attending such court, or from testifying to any matter pending therein, freely, fully, and truthfully, or to injure such party or witness in his person or property on account of his having so attended or testified, or to influence the verdict, presentment, or indictment of any grand or petit juror in any such court, or to injure such juror in his person or property on account of any verdict, presentment, or indictment lawfully assented to by him, or of his being or having been such juror; or if two or more persons conspire for the purpose of impeding, hindering, obstructing, or defeating, in any manner, the due course of justice in any State or Territory, with intent to deny to any citizen the equal protection of the laws, or to injure him or his property for lawfully enforcing, or attempting to enforce, the right of any person, or class of persons, to the equal protection of the laws;
(3) Depriving persons of rights or privileges
If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire or go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another, for the purpose of depriving, either directly or indirectly, any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws; or for the purpose of preventing or hindering the constituted authorities of any State or Territory from giving or securing to all persons within such State or Territory the equal protection of the laws; or if two or more persons conspire to prevent by force, intimidation, or threat, any citizen who is lawfully entitled to vote, from giving his support or advocacy in a legal manner, toward or in favor of the election of any lawfully qualified person as an elector for President or Vice President, or as a Member of Congress of the United States; or to injure any citizen in person or property on account of such support or advocacy; in any case of conspiracy set forth in this section, if one or more persons engaged therein do, or cause to be done, any act in furtherance of the object of such conspiracy, whereby another is injured in his person or property, or deprived of having and exercising any right or privilege of a citizen of the United States, the party so injured or deprived may have an action for the recovery of damages occasioned by such injury or deprivation, against any one or more of the conspirators.
(R.S. §1980.)

42 USC § 1986. Action for neglect to prevent

Every person who, having knowledge that any of the wrongs conspired to be done, and mentioned in section 1985 of this title, are about to be committed, and having power to prevent or aid in preventing the commission of the same, neglects or refuses so to do, if such wrongful act be committed, shall be liable to the party injured, or his legal representatives, for all damages caused by such wrongful act, which such person by reasonable diligence could have prevented; and such damages may be recovered in an action on the case; and any number of persons guilty of such wrongful neglect or refusal may be joined as defendants in the action; and if the death of any party be caused by any such wrongful act and neglect, the legal representatives of the deceased shall have such action therefor, and may recover not exceeding $5,000 damages therein, for the benefit of the widow of the deceased, if there be one, and if there be no widow, then for the benefit of the next of kin of the deceased. But no action under the provisions of this section shall be sustained which is not commenced within one year after the cause of action has accrued.
(R.S. §1981.)

42 USC § 1987. Prosecution of violation of certain laws

The United States attorneys, marshals, and deputy marshals, the United States magistrate judges appointed by the district and territorial courts, with power to arrest, imprison, or bail offenders, and every other officer who is especially empowered by the President, are authorized and required, at the expense of the United States, to institute prosecutions against all persons violating any of the provisions of section 1990 of this title or of sections 5506 to 5516 and 5518 to 5532 of the Revised Statutes, and to cause such persons to be arrested, and imprisoned or bailed, for trial before the court of the United States or the territorial court having cognizance of the offense.
(R.S. §1982; Mar. 3, 1911, ch. 231, §291, 36 Stat. 1167; June 25, 1948, ch. 646, §1, 62 Stat. 909; Pub. L. 90–578, title IV, §402(b)(2), Oct. 17, 1968, 82 Stat. 1118; Pub. L. 101–650, title III, §321, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5117.)

42 USC § 1988. Proceedings in vindication of civil rights

(a) Applicability of statutory and common law
The jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters conferred on the district courts by the provisions of titles 13, 24, and 70 of the Revised Statutes for the protection of all persons in the United States in their civil rights, and for their vindication, shall be exercised and enforced in conformity with the laws of the United States, so far as such laws are suitable to carry the same into effect; but in all cases where they are not adapted to the object, or are deficient in the provisions necessary to furnish suitable remedies and punish offenses against law, the common law, as modified and changed by the constitution and statutes of the State wherein the court having jurisdiction of such civil or criminal cause is held, so far as the same is not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States, shall be extended to and govern the said courts in the trial and disposition of the cause, and, if it is of a criminal nature, in the infliction of punishment on the party found guilty.
(b) Attorney's fees
In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of sections 1981, 1981a, 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1986 of this title, title IX of Public Law 92–318 [20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.], the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 [42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.], the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 [42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq.], title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.], or section 13981 of this title, the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity such officer shall not be held liable for any costs, including attorney's fees, unless such action was clearly in excess of such officer's jurisdiction.
(c) Expert fees
In awarding an attorney's fee under subsection (b) of this section in any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of section 1981 or 1981a of this title, the court, in its discretion, may include expert fees as part of the attorney's fee.
(R.S. §722; Pub. L. 94–559, §2, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2641; Pub. L. 96–481, title II, §205(c), Oct. 21, 1980, 94 Stat. 2330; Pub. L. 102–166, title I, §§103, 113(a), Nov. 21, 1991, 105 Stat. 1074, 1079; Pub. L. 103–141, §4(a), Nov. 16, 1993, 107 Stat. 1489; Pub. L. 103–322, title IV, §40303, Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1942; Pub. L. 104–317, title III, §309(b), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3853; Pub. L. 106–274, §4(d), Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 804.)

42 USC § 1989. United States magistrate judges; appointment of persons to execute warrants

The district courts of the United States and the district courts of the Territories, from time to time, shall increase the number of United States magistrate judges, so as to afford a speedy and convenient means for the arrest and examination of persons charged with the crimes referred to in section 1987 of this title; and such magistrate judges are authorized and required to exercise all the powers and duties conferred on them herein with regard to such offenses in like manner as they are authorized by law to exercise with regard to other offenses against the laws of the United States. Said magistrate judges are empowered, within their respective counties, to appoint, in writing, under their hands, one or more suitable persons, from time to time, who shall execute all such warrants or other process as the magistrate judges may issue in the lawful performance of their duties, and the persons so appointed shall have authority to summon and call to their aid the bystanders or posse comitatus of the proper county, or such portion of the land or naval forces of the United States, or of the militia, as may be necessary to the performance of the duty with which they are charged; and such warrants shall run and be executed anywhere in the State or Territory within which they are issued.
(R.S. §§1983, 1984; Mar. 3, 1911, ch. 231, §291, 36 Stat. 1167; Pub. L. 90–578, title IV, §402(b)(2), Oct. 17, 1968, 82 Stat. 1118; Pub. L. 101–650, title III, §321, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5117.)

42 USC § 1990. Marshal to obey precepts; refusing to receive or execute process

Every marshal and deputy marshal shall obey and execute all warrants or other process, when directed to him, issued under the provisions of section 1989 of this title. Every marshal and deputy marshal who refuses to receive any warrant or other process when tendered to him, issued in pursuance of the provisions of this section, or refuses or neglects to use all proper means diligently to execute the same, shall be liable to a fine in the sum of $1,000, for the benefit of the party aggrieved thereby.
(R.S. §§1985, 5517.)

42 USC § 1991. Fees; persons appointed to execute process

Every person appointed to execute process under section 1989 of this title shall be entitled to a fee of $5 for each party he may arrest and take before any United States magistrate judge, with such other fees as may be deemed reasonable by the magistrate judge for any additional services necessarily performed by him, such as attending at the examination, keeping the prisoner in custody, and providing him with food and lodging during his detention, and until the final determination of the magistrate judge; such fees to be made up in conformity with the fees usually charged by the officers of the courts of justice within the proper district or county, as near as may be practicable, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States on the certificate of the judge of the district within which the arrest is made, and to be recoverable from the defendant as part of the judgment in case of conviction.
(R.S. §1987; Pub. L. 90–578, title IV, §402(b)(2), Oct. 17, 1968, 82 Stat. 1118; Pub. L. 101–650, title III, §321, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5117.)

42 USC § 1992. Speedy trial

Whenever the President has reason to believe that offenses have been, or are likely to be committed against the provisions of section 1990 of this title or of section 5506 to 5516 and 5518 to 5532 of the Revised Statutes, within any judicial district, it shall be lawful for him, in his discretion, to direct the judge, marshal, and United States attorney of such district to attend at such place within the district, and for such time as he may designate, for the purpose of the more speedy arrest and trial of persons so charged, and it shall be the duty of every judge or other officer, when any such requisition is received by him to attend at the place and for the time therein designated.
(R.S. §1988; June 25, 1948, ch. 646, §1, 62 Stat. 909.)

42 USC § 1994. Peonage abolished

The holding of any person to service or labor under the system known as peonage is abolished and forever prohibited in any Territory or State of the United States; and all acts, laws, resolutions, orders, regulations, or usages of any Territory or State, which have heretofore established, maintained, or enforced, or by virtue of which any attempt shall hereafter be made to establish, maintain, or enforce, directly or indirectly, the voluntary or involuntary service or labor of any persons as peons, in liquidation of any debt or obligation, or otherwise, are declared null and void.
(R.S. §1990.)

42 USC § 1995. Criminal contempt proceedings; penalties; trial by jury

In all cases of criminal contempt arising under the provisions of this Act, the accused, upon conviction, shall be punished by fine or imprisonment or both: Provided however, That in case the accused is a natural person the fine to be paid shall not exceed the sum of $1,000, nor shall imprisonment exceed the term of six months: Provided further, That in any such proceeding for criminal contempt, at the discretion of the judge, the accused may be tried with or without a jury: Provided further, however, That in the event such proceeding for criminal contempt be tried before a judge without a jury and the sentence of the court upon conviction is a fine in excess of the sum of $300 or imprisonment in excess of forty-five days, the accused in said proceeding, upon demand therefore, shall be entitled to a trial de novo before a jury, which shall conform as near as may be to the practice in other criminal cases.
This section shall not apply to contempts committed in the presence of the court or so near thereto as to interfere directly with the administration of justice nor to the misbehavior, misconduct, or disobedience, of any officer of the court in respect to the writs, orders, or process of the court.
Nor shall anything herein or in any other provision of law be construed to deprive courts of their power, by civil contempt proceedings, without a jury, to secure compliance with or to prevent obstruction of, as distinguished from punishment for violations of, any lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command of the court in accordance with the prevailing usages of law and equity, including the power of detention.
(Pub. L. 85–315, pt. V, §151, Sept. 9, 1957, 71 Stat. 638.)


 

SUBCHAPTER IX—MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

42 USC § 2000h. Criminal contempt proceedings: trial by jury, criminal practice, penalties, exceptions, intent; civil contempt proceedings

In any proceeding for criminal contempt arising under title II, III, IV, V, VI, or VII of this Act, the accused, upon demand therefor, shall be entitled to a trial by jury, which shall conform as near as may be to the practice in criminal cases. Upon conviction, the accused shall not be fined more than $1,000 or imprisoned for more than six months.
This section shall not apply to contempts committed in the presence of the court, or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice, nor to the misbehavior, misconduct, or disobedience of any officer of the court in respect to writs, orders, or process of the court. No person shall be convicted of criminal contempt hereunder unless the act or omission constituting such contempt shall have been intentional, as required in other cases of criminal contempt.
Nor shall anything herein be construed to deprive courts of their power, by civil contempt proceedings, without a jury, to secure compliance with or to prevent obstruction of, as distinguished from punishment for violations of, any lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command of the court in accordance with the prevailing usages of law and equity, including the power of detention.
(Pub. L. 88–352, title XI, §1101, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 268.)

42 USC § 2000h–1. Double jeopardy; specific crimes and criminal contempts

No person should be put twice in jeopardy under the laws of the United States for the same act or omission. For this reason, an acquittal or conviction in a prosecution for a specific crime under the laws of the United States shall bar a proceeding for criminal contempt, which is based upon the same act or omission and which arises under the provisions of this Act; and an acquittal or conviction in a proceeding for criminal contempt, which arises under the provisions of this Act, shall bar a prosecution for a specific crime under the laws of the United States based upon the same act or omission.
(Pub. L. 88–352, title XI, §1102, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 268.)

42 USC § 2000h–2. Intervention by Attorney General; denial of equal protection on account of race, color, religion, sex or national origin

Whenever an action has been commenced in any court of the United States seeking relief from the denial of equal protection of the laws under the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution on account of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, the Attorney General for or in the name of the United States may intervene in such action upon timely application if the Attorney General certifies that the case is of general public importance. In such action the United States shall be entitled to the same relief as if it had instituted the action.
(Pub. L. 88–352, title IX, §902, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 266; Pub. L. 92–318, title IX, §906(a), June 23, 1972, 86 Stat. 375.)

42 USC § 2000h–3. Construction of provisions not to affect authority of Attorney General, etc., to institute or intervene in actions or proceedings

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to deny, impair, or otherwise affect any right or authority of the Attorney General or of the United States or any agency or officer thereof under existing law to institute or intervene in any action or proceeding.
(Pub. L. 88–352, title XI, §1103, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 268.)

42 USC § 2000h–4. Construction of provisions not to exclude operation of State laws and not to invalidate consistent State laws

Nothing contained in any title of this Act shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of Congress to occupy the field in which any such title operates to the exclusion of State laws on the same subject matter, nor shall any provision of this Act be construed as invalidating any provision of State law unless such provision is inconsistent with any of the purposes of this Act, or any provision thereof.
(Pub. L. 88–352, title XI, §1104, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 268.)

42 USC § 2000h–5. Authorization of appropriations

There are hereby authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.
(Pub. L. 88–352, title XI, §1105, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 268.)

42 USC § 2000h–6. Separability

If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of the Act and the application of the provision to other persons not similarly situated or to other circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
(Pub. L. 88–352, title XI, §1106, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 268.)