Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and later sexual orientation and gender identity.[lower-alpha 1][4] It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools and public accommodations, and employment discrimination. The act "remains one of the most significant legislative achievements in American history".[5]

Civil Rights Act of 1964
Long titleAn Act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States of America to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.
Enacted bythe 88th United States Congress
EffectiveJuly 2, 1964
Citations
Public law88-352
Statutes at Large78 Stat. 241
Codification
Acts amended
Titles amendedTitle 42—Public Health And Welfare
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 7152 by Emanuel Celler (DNY) on June 20, 1963
  • Committee consideration by Judiciary
  • Passed the House on February 10, 1964[1] (290–130)
  • Passed the Senate on June 19, 1964[2] (73–27) with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on July 2, 1964[3] (289–126)
  • Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964
Major amendments
United States Supreme Court cases

Initially, powers given to enforce the act were weak, but these were supplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment, and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment.

The legislation had been proposed by President John F. Kennedy in June 1963, but it was opposed by filibuster in the Senate. After Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed the bill forward. The United States House of Representatives passed the bill on February 10, 1964, and after a 54-day filibuster, it passed the United States Senate on June 19, 1964. The final vote was 290–130 in the House of Representatives and 73–27 in the Senate.[6] After the House agreed to a subsequent Senate amendment, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Johnson at the White House on July 2, 1964.