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Constitutional Law Keyed to Barnett
Yick Wo v. Hopkins
Citation:118 U.S. 356 (1886)
In 1880, the city of San Francisco passed an ordinance requiring that the owners of laundromats in wooden buildings obtain a permit to continue operating their businesses. The city justified the ordinance as an exercise of the state police power to protect the city residents from fire. Most of the laundromats in the city were housed in wooden buildings, and about 2/3 of those businesses were owned by Chinese American individuals. A businessman named Yick Wo initially received a license for his laundromat (which was housed in a wooden building) but later the government denied his application and he was convicted and fined for violating the ordinance. Yick Wo refused to pay the fine and was imprisoned.
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