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Abstract

The 125th anniversary of Yick Wo v. Hopkins is an important opportunity to recognize the pervasive role of law in oppressive treatment of Chinese immigrants in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is also a good opportunity for the Supreme Court to reflect on four important lessons gleaned from Yick Wo. First, the Court should never lend justification to the evil of class discrimination, even if it has to decline to rule in a case. Second, where there is persistent discrimination against a minority group, the Court must be similarly persistent in fighting it. Third, the Court needs to take legislative motivation more seriously in cases of persistent class discrimination. Finally, the Court cannot give sanction to any dominant group's view that the country's economic and social wealth belongs to them.