42 U.S.C. § 1981

The right to make and enforce contracts and to participate in judiucial proceedings without regard to race was originally established by the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The provision was passed again as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1870, in the face of concerns that the Thirteenth Amendment was not a sufficient constitutional basis on which to base the 1866 act. In 1970, the Fourteenth Amendment was in place, and there was no question about that amendment having given Congress sufficient authority to pass the legislation.

All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.

For purposes of this section, the term “make and enforce contracts” includes the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.

The rights protected by this section are protected against impairment by nongovernmental discrimination and impairment under color of State law.