Griffin v. Breckenridge 403 U.S. 88 (1971)

Author:Theodore Eisenberg

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This decision provided a generous construction of section 1985(3) of Title 42 of the United States Code and of Congress's power to reach private deprivations of CIVIL RIGHTS. Casting aside some constitutional considerations that had led to a more constricted reading of section 1985(3) in Collins v. Hardyman (1951), and effectively overruling UNITED STATES V. HARRIS (1883), the Court, in an opinion by Justice POTTER STEWART, concluded that section 1985(3) provides a cause of action against private conspiracies to violate constitutional rights. To avoid the "constitutional shoals that would lie in the path of interpreting 1985(3) as a general federal tort law," the Court required that the

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conspiracy be the product of some racial or other...

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