Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States on Constitutional Questions: 1914–1917. III
American Political Science Review
Two instances of race discrimination which came before the court were aimed against aliens. Truax v. Raich annulled an Arizona statute which required every employer of not more than five workers to employ not less than 80 per cent qualified electors or native born citizens of the United States. The decision was based, not only on the equal protection clause, but also on the principle that the states must not interfere with the acknowledged powers of the nation. The power to admit aliens which
... dmit aliens which Congress possesses and has exercised would be nugatory if the states after their admission could deny them the opportunity of a livelihood.But neither of these principles was held applicable to the exclusion of aliens from employment on public works. The opinions in Heim v. McCall and Crane v. New York went so far as to declare that a state must be as free as an individual to decide for itself what persons shall be employed on work done for it. Yet it must be seriously doubted whether the court by actual decision would go so far as to sanction discriminations against Quakers or Methodists or Republicans or Democrats. The exclusion of aliens may be justified on grounds which would not apply to other whimsicalities.