Black, Jr., Charles L. The Lawfulness of the Segregation Decisions 1960
Wechsler, Herbert Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law 1959
Bickel, Alexander The Original Understanding and the Segregation Decision 1955
Sutherland The Law and One Man Among Many pages 35-62 (1956)
Venue: Supreme Court of the United States
Opinion of the Court: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)
Issue(s) Before the Court:
Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities?
Plaintiff / Appellant / Petitioner's Claim(s):
Defendant / Appellee / Respondent's Claim(s):
Holding(s) and Disposition:
Held: Yes. Segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities.
Disposition: In order that we may have the full assistance of the parties in formulating decrees, the cases will be restored to the docket, and the parties are requested to present further argument on Questions 4 and 5 previously propounded by the Court for the reargument this Term.
- A full recounting of the facts is available below
- A full description of the rationale is available below
Full Recounting of Facts
- A list of the material facts is available above
Majority Full Argument
- In each of the cases, minors of the Negro race, through their legal representatives, seek the aid of the courts in obtaining admission to the public schools of their community on a nonsegregated basis.
- In each instance, they had been denied admission to schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to race.
- This segregation was alleged to deprive the plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment.
- The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not "equal" and cannot be made "equal," and that hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws.
- Reargument was largely devoted to the circumstances surrounding the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868. [Originalism?]
- This discussion and our own investigation convince us that, although these sources cast some light, it is not enough to resolve the problem with which we are faced. At best, they are inconclusive.
- In this Court, there have been six cases involving the "separate but equal" doctrine in the field of public education.
- Our decision, therefore, cannot turn on merely a comparison of these tangible factors in the Negro and white schools involved in each of the cases.
- We must look instead to the effect of segregation itself on public education.
- To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.
- We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place.
- Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.
- Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
- The core of the rationale is available above