*Attorney Antonio Moore and Political Commentator Yvette Carnell discuss the recent decision allowing Billionaire Byron Allen to proceed against Charter Communication under a law Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which was written to allow freed black slaves the right to contract.
Section 1981 was written to allow freed slaves the ability to contract without interference. It is now being used by media mogul Byron Allen to show that right is not being allowed in contracting for cable carriage contracts by Charter Communications 150 years after it was written into law. As written by the employment resource site hero,
So what’s Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866? Shortly after the Civil War ended, many Southern (and some Northern) states enacted the so-called “Black Codes” in protest of and to circumvent the recently enacted Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibited slavery. The Black Codes imposed onerous legal limitations on newly freed former slaves. In response, Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1866, a law generally recognized as the United States’ first significant civil rights legislation. Section 1981 of that statute confers a series of legal rights equally to all citizens, including the right to contract and to hold and convey property.
In the decision Monday U.S. District Court judge George H. Wu allowed the $10 billion lawsuit against Charter Communications for alleged discrimination in contracting in violation of section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act to proceed.
In his decision Judge Wu stated
“If Singer’s and [Charter CEO Tom] Rutledge’s alleged arguably-racist statements were all that Plaintiffs could muster, the Court would likely agree with Defendant that they were insufficient to satisfy even a ‘motivating factor’ standard at the pleading stage,” writes Wu. “But when they are viewed in combination with the several-year effort made by ESN and the — viewed most-favorably to Plaintiffs — continued stonewalling and provision of excuses that do not match up with Defendant’s practices with non-African American-owned media companies, the Court believes Plaintiffs have validly stated a claim under Section 1981. Plaintiffs are entitled to proceed to discovery on their claim. … As a result, while Defendant’s ultimate carriage/programming activity is entitled to some measure of First Amendment protection, the Court does not believe that Defendant has identified and applied the proper method of analyzing the First Amendment impact of an application of Section 1981 to the contracting activity in question here,”