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LAWS 1909, CHAP. 14 AN ACT relating to civil rights, constituting chapter six of the

consolidated laws.

Became a law, February 17, 1909, with the approval of the Governor. Passed,

three-fifths being present.

The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:


Article 1. Short title (8 1).

2. Bill of rights (S$ 2–14).
3. Privilege from arrest (S$ 20–26).
4. Equal rights in places of public accommodation and

amusement ($$ 40, 41).
5. Right of privacy (S$ 50, 51).
6. Laws repealed; when to take effect (S$ 60, 61).



Section 1. Short title.

§ 1. Short title.—This chapter shall be known as the “ Civil Rights Law.”

“ This is a new Consolidated Law made necessary by the presence in the Revised Statutes of provisions relating to civil rights, which have been consolidated in any existing general law. To the provisions taken from the Revised Statutes has been added other matter of a similar character from other sources.” See report of Board of Statutory Consolidation, vol. 1, p. 413.

In the Penal Law “ Civil Rights" is the title of article XLVI. It deals with forfeiture of office and suspension of civil rights (8 510), consequence of sentence to imprisonment for life (§ 511), forfeiture of property on conviction abolished (§ 512), innkeepers and carriers refusing to receive guests and passengers (8 513), protecting civil and public rights ($ 514), discrimination against person or class in price for admission (§ 515), return of photographs of prisoners after unsuccessful prosecution of criminal action ($ 516).

Federal legislation. The Act of Congress of March 1, 1875, ch. 114, 18 U. S. Stat. L. 335, entitled "An act to protect all citizens in their civil and legal rights,” declared that “all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theatres, and other places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous condition of servitude.” In Civil Rights Cases, (1883) 109 U. S. 3, 27 U. S. (L. ed.) 835, this act was held to be unconstitutional and void in its application to the states. Thirty years later the United States Supreme Court declared the act to be unconstitutional in its entirety, holding that it was impossible to separate that which is valid from that which is void. Butts v. Merchants and Miners' Transp. Co., (1913) 230 U. S. 126, 33 S. Ct. 964, 57 U. S. (L. ed.) 1422.

I was

Bill of Rights

L. 1909, ch. 14

Chapter 3 of the Penal Laws of the United States deals with “ Offenses against the elective franchise and civil rights of citizens.” Section 19 of this chapter reads as follows: “If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same, or if two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured, they shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars and imprisoned not more than ten years, and shall, moreover, be thereafter ineligible to any office, or place of honor, profit or trust created by the Constitution or laws of the United States." (35 Stat. L. 1092.)

Section 20 provides: “Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordi. nance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects, or causes to be subjected, any inhabitant of any State, Territory, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such inhabitant being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.” (35 Stat. L. 1092.)

In the Revised Statutes of the United States, section 1977 deals with “ Equal rights under the law;" section 1978, with “ Rights of citizens in respect to real and personal property;" section 1979, with “ Civil action for deprivation of rights;" sections 1980 and 1981, with “ Conspiracy.”

For cases construing all the above provisions, see Federal Statutes, Annotated, tit. Civil Rights.




2. Supreme sovereignty in the people. 3. Levying taxes and charges. 4. Right to keep and bear arms. 5. Military service by citizens. 6. Exemption from military service. 7. Quartering soldiers. 8. Right of search and seizure. 9. Freedom of elections. 10. Justice to be administered without favor and speedily. 11. Fines must be reasonable and imposed only for cause. 12. Rights of persons accused of crime. 13. Right to serve on juries. 14. Jurors not to be questioned for verdicts.

§ 2. Supreme sovereignty in the people.— No authority can, on any pretence whatsoever, be exercised over the citizens of this state, but such as is or shall be derived from and granted by the people of this state.

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“ This section, expressive of the sovereignty of the people, goes back to the Constitution of 1777 (Art. 1), and was reaffirmed in the New York Bill of Rights Act of 1787 (1 l). It found its last expression in this state in the Revised Statutes of 1828 (Pt. 1, Ch. 4, § 1), since which time it has not appeared in the Constitution or acts of the legislature.” Report of Board of Statutory Consolidation (1907) vol. 1, p. 440.

Supreme authority of the people - usurpation.—“Sovereignty or supreme power is in this country vested in the people, and only in the people." Field, J., in Fong v. Yue Ting, 149 U. S. 757. “Sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law, for it is the author and source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts." Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 370. “Sovereignty, independence, and a perfect right of self-government, can signify nothing less than a superiority to and an exemption from all claims by any extraneous power, however expressly they may be asserted, and render all attempts to enforce such claims merely attempts at usurpation.” Scott v. Sanford, 19 How. (U. S.) 485. “All legislative powers appertain to sovereignty. The original power of giving the law on any subject whatever, is sovereign power.” Marshall, C. J., in M'Culloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. (U. S.) 409.

§ 3. Levying taxes and charges. No tax, duty, aid or imposition whatsoever, except such as may be laid by a law of the United States, can be taken or levied within this state, without the grant and assent of the people of this state, by their representatives in senate and assembly; and no citizen of this state can be by any means compelled to contribute to any gift, loan, tax, or other like charge, not laid or imposed by a law of the United States, or by the legislature of this state.

See the Constitution, art. 3, $ $ 21, 24, and notes thereunder.

The report of the Board of Statutory Consolidation (1907) at page 440 contains a note on this section as follows: “ This provision appears as early as 1628 in the Petition of Rights (fl), and subsequently in the Declaration of Rights of William and Mary (2 Wm. & Mary, ch. 2, 1689, art. 4) as paragraph 12 of the New York Bill of Rights Act of 1787, and finally in the Revised Statutes of 1828 (pt. 1, ch. 4, § 2)."

Nature of power to tax.—“In every free country the power of laying taxes is considered a legislative power over the property and persons of the citizens; and this power the people of the United States granted to their state legislatures." Ware v. Hylton, 3 Dall. (U. S.) 232. “ The power to tax belongs exclusively to the legislative branch of the government.” Spencer v. Merchant, 125 U. S. 355. “In the distribution of the powers of government in this country in three departments, the power of taxation falls to the legislative." Meriwether v. Garrett, 102 U. S. 515. And to the same effect see Talbot v. Jasnon, 3 Dall. (U. S.) 163.

4. Right to keep and bear arms.-A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed.

The report of the Board of Statutory Consolidation (1907) at page 440 contains a note on this section as follows: “ This provision appears in the

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