The original case, Hornsby v. Allen was heard in 1964 by the United States Court of Appeals Fifths Circuit. Mrs. Lora Hornsby was an appellant and Ivan Allen, the Mayor of the city of Atlanta was an appellee. Mrs. Hornsby got the refusal in getting the liquor license to operate a liquor store in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. She wanted to redress deprivation of her civil rights according to 28 USC 1343 and to get the declaration of her rights according to 28 USC 2201(Creation of remedy). Her complaint was based on the fact that although she met all the requirements as the holder of the retail liquor store, her application to get the license was denied without any reason by the Mayor of Atlanta and the Board of Aldermen. Moreover, she was not satisfied with the system of ward courtesy under which the licenses were granted. The approval of both members of the ward in which the store was located played an important role in the process of getting a retail liquor store license. Mrs. Hornsby constituted violation of the 14-th Amendment.
It is known that the 14-th Amendment to the US Constitution protects civil and political rights. It deals with equal protection of the laws. None of the states has the right to abridge the privileges and immunities of the US citizens. It was indicated by the district court that there was no violation of the 14-th Amendment and that the issuance of the liquor license was within the discretion of the Mayor of Atlanta and the Board of Aldermen. However, the Chief Judge of the federal court represented his disagreements with the district court. In this case the appellees placed liquor licensing into a special category. They argued that as licensing to sell spiritual liquor was a privilege, only the licensing authority had the right to deny licenses in its discretion or to grant them. According to the established law, the state has the right to control traffic in intoxicating liquor.
One more important fact is that any type of liquor may be a menace to public health. The Chief Judge stated that the above mentioned fact could be a sufficient respond to Mrs. Hornsby’s allegations. Moreover, the Board of Aldermen was sure that the restrictions to sell liquor beverages in the state could protect the members of the community from their harmful influences. On the other hand, the Chief Judge asserted that this case shared a lot of similarities with Glicker v. Michigan Liquor Control Commission where the action was brought according to the Civil Rights Act.
The State Liquor Commission was required to renew a liquor license which had been revoked as international discrimination. It is known that the trial court dismissed the complaint, but the Court of Appeals reversed it.
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that the trial court entertained the suit. Mrs. Hornsby’s allegations were determined the truth. It was also declared that the district court violated the law and did not meet the constitutional standards according to 42 USC 1983(Civil Action for Depravation of Rights).
326 F.2d 605 Hornsby v. Allen. United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit. January 7, 1964. Open Jurist. Available from: