In Pace v. Alabama, 106 U.S. 583 (1883), the Supreme Court upholds an Alabama statute that punishes fornication and adultery more heavily when the parties are of different races. The Court reasons that the statute does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because the penalty applies equally to whites and blacks who engage in interracial adultery or sex.

In United States v. Harris, 106 U.S. 629 (1883), the Court holds unconstitutional portions of the the Ku Klux Klan Act ( the Civil Rights Act of 1871). The Court holds that Congress cannot reach purely private conspiracies to violate civil rights under its powers to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment. Later that year, in The Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883), the Court strikes down the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation, on the ground that the Fourteenth Amendment reaches only state action and that Congress has no power to regulate private discrimination. Justice Bradley's majority opinion states that blacks had been freed from slavery, and that it was time that they "cease[] to be the special favorite of the laws."

In King v. Gallagher, 93 N.Y. 438 (1883), The Court of Appeals of New York upholds segregated schools where black schools have equal facilities.