An introduction to Constitutional Law 100 Supreme Court cases everyone should know

Randy E. Barnett & Josh Blackman

In 1869, Louisiana’s legislature ordered the closure of all private slaughterhouses in New Orleans. The government granted a monopoly to a single, privately owned slaughterhouse. Now, everyone would have to use that facility. A group of butchers sued the state. They argued that the Slaughter-House monopoly that prohibited private butcher shops violated the Privileges or Immunities Clause. Specifically, the law abridged their constitutional “right to exercise their trade” — a right that is not expressly enumerated in the text of the Constitution.

The Court split 5-4, and ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not pro- tect this unenumerated right. Justice Miller wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Clifford, Strong, Hunt, and Davis. In dissent were Chief Justice Chase, and Justices Field, Bradley, and Swayne.

Three ways to watch and read

Videos Only

Binge watch the 12-hour video library


Videos + E-Book

Instantly access the video library and download the E-Book


Videos + Paperback

Read the paperback and stream the videos