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Brief for Appellants in Nos. 2 (1,) and 4 and for Respondents in No. on Reargument (10 )

Explanatory Statement

One brief is being filed in these four cases. They fundamentally involve the same questions and issues. As an aid to the Court, we are restating below a full history of each case.

NO. 1

Opinion below

The opinion of the statutory three-judge District Court for the District of Kansas (R. 238–244) is reported at 98 F. Supp. 797.

Jurisdiction

The judgment of the court below was entered on August 3, 1951 (R. 247). On October 1, 1951, appellants filed a petition for appeal (R. 248), and an order allowing the appeal was entered (R. 250). Probable jurisdiction was noted on June 9, 1952 (R. 254). Jurisdiction of this Court rests on Title 28, United States Code, §§ 1253 and 2101(b).

Statement of the case

Appellants are Negro students eligible to attend and attending elementary schools in Topeka, Kansas, and their parents (R. 3–4). Appellees are state officers empowered to maintain and operate the public schools of Topeka, Kansas (R. 4–5). On March 22, 1951, appellants commenced this class action against appellees to restrain them from enforcing and executing that part of Chapter 72–1724, General Statutes of Kansas, 1949, which permitted racial segregation in public elementary schools, on the ground that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment by depriving the infant appellants of equal educational opportunities (R. 2–7), and for a judgment declaring that the practice of appellees under said statute of maintaining and operating racially segregated elementary schools is in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Appellees admitted in their answer that they acted pursuant to the statute and that, solely because of their color, the infant appellants were not eligible to attend any of the elementary schools maintained exclusively for white students (R. 12). The Attorney General of the State of Kansas filed a separate answer specifically to defend the constitutional validity of the statute (R. 14).

The court below was convened in accordance with Title 28, United States Code, § 2284, and, on June 25–26, a trial on the merits was held (R. 63 et seq.). On August 3, 1951, the court below filed its opinion (R. 238–244), findings of fact (R. 244–246) and conclusions of law (R. 246–247) and entered a final judgment denying the injunctive relief sought (R. 247).

Specification of errors

The court below erred:

  1. In refusing to grant appellants' application for a permanent injunction to restrain appellees from acting pursuant to the statute under which they are maintaining separate public elementary schools for Negro children, solely because of their race and color.
  2. In refusing to hold that the State of Kansas is without authority to promulgate the statute because it enforces a classification based upon race and color which is violative of the Constitution of the United States.
  3. In refusing to enter judgment in favor of appellants after finding that enforced attendance at racially segregated elementary schools was detrimental and deprived them of educational opportunities equal to those available to white children.

NO. 2

Opinions below

The majority and dissenting opinions of the statutory three-judge District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina on the first hearing (R. 176–209) are reported in 98 F. Supp. 529–548. The opinion on the second hearing (R. 301–306) is reported in 103 F. Supp. 920–923.

Jurisdiction

The judgment of the court below was entered on March 13, 1952 (R. 306). A petition for appeal was filed below and allowed on May 10, 1952 (R. 309). Probable jurisdiction was noted on June 9, 1952 (R. 316). Jurisdiction of this Court rests on Title 28, United States Code, §§ 1253 and 2101(b).

Statement of the case

Appellants are Negro children who reside in and are eligible to attend the public schools of School District No. 22, Clarendon County, South Carolina, and their respective parents and guardians (R. 4–5). Appellees are the public school officials of said district who, as officers of the state, maintain and operate the public schools of that district (R. 5–6). On December 22, 1950, appellants commenced this class action against appellees to enjoin enforcement of Article XI, Section 7, of the Constitution of South Carolina and Section 5377 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina of 1942, which require the segregation of races in public schools, on the ground that they deny to appellants the equal protection of the laws secured by the Fourteenth Amendment, and for a judgment declaring that said laws violate the Fourteenth Amendment and are invalid (R. 2–11).

Appellees in their answer admitted adherence to the said constitutional and statutory provisions requiring racial segregation in public schools and asserted that such provisions were a reasonable exercise of the police powers of the state and, therefore, were valid (R. 13–17).

A three-judge District Court was convened, pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, §§ 2284, and on July 25, 1951, a trial on the merits was held (R. 30 et seq.). On June 23, 1951, the court below filed its opinion (R. 176) and entered a final decree (R. 209): (1) upholding the constitutional validity of the contested state constitutional and statutory provisions; (2) denying the injunctive relief which was sought; (3) requiring appellees to furnish to appellants educational facilities equal to those furnished to white students; and (4) requiring appellees within six months to file a report of action taken toward that end.

An appeal from this judgment was allowed by this Court on July 20, 1951. The report required by the decree of the court below was filed on December 21, 1951, and subsequently forwarded to this Court. On January 28, 1952, this Court vacated the judgment of the court below and remanded the case for the purpose of obtaining the views of the court below on the additional facts in the record and to give it the opportunity to take such action as it might deem appropriate in light of the report. 342 U.S. 350. Mr. Justice Black and Mr. Justice Douglas dissented on the ground that the additional facts in the report were "wholly irrelevant to the constitutional questions presented by the appeal to this Court." 342 U.S. 350.

Pursuant to the mandate of this Court, a second trial was held in the court below on March 3, 1953 (R. 271), at which time the appellees filed an additional report showing progress made since the filing of the original report (R. 273). On March 13, 1952, the court below filed its opinion (R. 301) and entered a final decree (R. 306) again upholding the validity of the contested constitutional and statutory provisions, denying the injunctive relief requested and requiring appellees to afford to appellants educational facilities equal to those afforded to white students.

Specification of errors

The court below erred:

  1. In refusing to enjoin the enforcement of the laws of South Carolina requiring racial segregation in the public schools of Clarendon County on the ground that these laws violate rights secured under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  2. In refusing to grant to appellants immediate and effective relief against the unconstitutional practice of excluding appellants from an opportunity to share the public school facilities of Clarendon County on an equal basis with other students without regard to race or color.
  3. In predicating its decision on the doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson and in disregarding the rationale of Sweatt v. Painter and McLaurin v. Board of Regents.

NO. 4

Opinion below

The opinion of the statutory three-judge District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (R. 617–623) is reported at 103 F. Supp. 337–341.

Jurisdiction

The judgment of the court below was entered on March 7, 1952 (R. 623). A petition for appeal was filed below and allowed on May 5, 1952 (R. 625, 630, 683). Probable jurisdiction was noted on October 8, 1952. ___U.S. ___, 97 L. ed. (Advance p. 27). Jurisdiction of this Court rests on Title 28, United States Code, §§ 1253 and 2101(b).

Statement of the case

Appellants, high school students residing in Prince Edward County, Virginia, and their parents and guardians, brought a class action against appellees, the County School Board and the Division Superintendent of Schools on May 23, 1951. The complaint (R. 5–30) alleged that said appellees maintained separate public secondary schools for Negro and white children pursuant to Article IX, Section 140 of the Constitution of Virginia, and Title 22, Chapter 12, Article 1, section 22–221, of the Code of Virginia of 1950; that the Negro school was inferior and unequal to the white schools; and that it was impossible for the infant appellants to secure educational opportunities or facilities equal to those afforded white children similarly situated as long as said appellees enforce said laws or pursued a policy of racial segregation. It sought a judgment declaratory of the invalidity of said laws as a denial of rights secured by the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, and an injunction restraining said appellees from enforcing said laws and from making any distinction based on race or color among children attending the secondary schools of the County.

Appellees admitted maintenance of said schools, enforcement of said laws, and inequalities as to physical plant and equipment, but denied that the segregation violated the Constitution (R. 32–36). Appellee, the Commonwealth of Virginia, intervened (R. 37) and made the same admissions and defense (R. 37–39).

On March 7, 1952, a three-judge District Court found the Negro school inferior in plant, facilities, curricula and means of transportation (R. 622–623) and ordered appellees forthwith to provide "substantially" equal curricula and transportation facilities and to "proceed with all reasonable diligence and dispatch to remove" the existing inequality "by building, furnishing and providing a high school building and facilities for Negro students" (R. 624). It refused to enjoin enforcement of the constitutional and statutory segregation provisions on the grounds: (1) that appellants' evidence as to the effects of educational segregation did not overbalance appellees', and that it accepted as "apt and able precedent" Briggs v. Elliott, 98 F. Supp. 529 (E. D. S. C. 1951) and Carr v. Corning, 182 F. 2d 14 (C. A. D. C. 1950) which "refused to decree that segregation be abolished incontinently" (R. 619); (2) that nullification of the segregation provisions was unwarranted in view of evidence that racial segregation was not based on prejudice or caprice but, rather, was "one of the ways of life in Virginia" (R. 620); (3) that segregation has begotten greater opportunities for the Negro (R. 621); (4) that elimination of segregation would lessen interest in and financial support of public schools (R. 621); and (5) that, finding "no hurt or harm to either race," it was not for the court "to adjudge the policy as right or wrong" (R. 621–622).

Specification of errors

The court below erred:

  1. In refusing to enjoin the enforcement of Article IX, Section 140 of the Constitution of Virginia, and Title 22, Chapter 12, Article 1, Section 22–221, of the Code of Virginia of 1950, upon the grounds that these laws violate rights secured by the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
  2. In refusing to forthwith restrain appellees from using race as a factor in determining the assignment of public secondary educational facilities in Prince Edward County, Virginia, after it had found that appellants are denied equality of buildings, facilities, curricula and means of transportation in violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  3. In refusing to hold that appellants are entitled to equality in all aspects of the public secondary educational process, in addition to equality in physical facilities and curricula.
  4. In issuing a decree ordering appellees to equalize secondary school facilities in the County where such decree cannot be effectively enforced without involving the court in the daily operation and supervision of schools.

NO. 10

Opinions below

The opinion of the Chancellor of the State of Delaware (A. 338) is reported at 87 A. (2d) 862. The opinion of the Supreme Court of Delaware (R. 37) is reported at 91 A. (2d) 137.*

Jurisdiction

The judgment of the court below was entered on August 28, 1952 (R. 37). On November 13, 1952 petition for writ of certiorari was filed herein. On November 20, 1952, respondents waived the filing of a brief in opposition to the petition for writ of certiorari and moved that, if certiorari were granted, the argument be advanced and heard immediately following argument in Nos. 8, 101 and 191. On November 24, 1952, the petition for writ of certiorari and motion to advance were granted. ___U.S. ___; 97 L. ed. (Advance, p. 124). Jurisdiction of this Court rests upon Title 28, United States Code, § 1257(3).

Statement of the case

No. 10 arises from two separate class actions filed in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware by Negro school children and their guardians seeking admittance of the children to two public schools maintained by petitioners exclusively for white children in New Castle County, Delaware. In the courts below, plaintiffs prevailed, and they and members of their class are now attending the schools to which they sought admission, an application for stay of final order having been denied. (Brief of Respondents, No. 448, October Term, 1952, pp. 25–27). Thus, in this case, unlike the other school segregation cases now under consideration, plaintiffs are respondents in this Court. Nevertheless, they file their brief at this time along with appellants in Numbers 1, 2 and 4, because, on the fundamental issues, they take the same position as do those appellants, and because they believe that by so filing they will facilitate the Court's consideration of the matters at bar.

* The record in this case consists of five separate parts: appendix to petitioners' brief in the court below, the supplement thereto, appendix to respondents' brief in the court below, the supplement thereto, and the record of proceedings in the Supreme Court of Delaware. These will be referred to in respondents' brief as follows:

Appendix to petitioners' brief below will be indicated by A; the supplement to the petitioners' appendix below will be referred to as SA; respondents' appendix below will be referred to as RA; the supplement to respondents' appendix below will be referred to as RSA; the record of proceedings in the Supreme Court of Delaware will be referred to as R.

The complaint (A 3–13) in one of the two cases from which No. 10 arises, alleged that respondents residing in the Claymont Special School District were refused admittance to the Claymont High School maintained by petitioner-members of the State Board of Education and members of the Board of Education of the Claymont Special School District solely because of respondents' color. Because of this, these respondents were compelled to attend Howard High School (RA 47), a public school for Negroes only, in Wilmington, Delaware. Howard High School is operated and controlled by the Corporate Board of Public Education in Wilmington, not a party to this case (A 314–15, 352; R 57, RA 203). The second complaint (A 14–30) out of which No. 448 arises alleged that respondent was excluded from Hockessin School No. 29, a public elementary school maintained for white children only, by petitioner-members of the State Board of Education and petitioner-members of the Board of School Trustees of Hockessin School No. 29. Respondent and the class she represented at the time of the complaint, attended Hockessin School No. 107, maintained solely for Negroes by the State Board of Education. Respondents in both complaints asserted that the aforesaid state-imposed racial segregation required by Par. 2631, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, and Article X, Section 1 of the Constitution of Delaware: (1) compelled them to attend schools substantially inferior to those for white children to which admittance was sought; and (2) injured their mental health, impeded their mental and personality development and made inferior their educational opportunity as compared with that offered by the state to white children similarly situated. Such treatment, respondents asserted, is prohibited by the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Petitioners' answers (A 31–33, A 34–37) defended the exclusion: (1) upon mandatory constitutional and statutory provisions of the State of Delaware which require separate public schools for white and colored children; and (2) upon the fact that the educational opportunities offered respondents were equal to those offered white children similarly situated.

The two cases were consolidated and tried before the Chancellor. In an opinion (A 348–356; 87 A. (2d) 862) filed on April 1, 1952, the Chancellor found as a fact that in "our Delaware society" segregation in education practiced by petitioners "itself results in Negro children, as a class, receiving educational opportunities which are substantially inferior to those available to white children otherwise similarly situated." However, the Chancellor denied respondents' prayers for a judgment on this ground and refused to declare that the Delaware constitutional and statutory provisions violated respondents' right to equal protection. But the Chancellor did award respondents the relief which they requested because other inequalities were found to exist. These included, in the high school, teacher training, pupil-teacher ratio, extra-curricular activities, physical plant and esthetic considerations, and time and distance involved in travel. As to the elementary schools in question, the court found the Negro facilities inferior in building and site, esthetic considerations, teacher preparation and transportation facilities. A more detailed exposition of the facts upon which these findings were based is set forth in respondents' Brief in No. 448, October Term, 1952, pp. 27–44.

The Chancellor, as stated above, ordered that respondents be granted immediate relief in the only way that it was then available, that is, by admission to the superior facilities. On August 28, 1952, the Supreme Court of Delaware affirmed. 91 A. (2d) 137. Its findings on some of the facts were somewhat different than the Chancellor's but, on the whole, it agreed with him. Upholding the Chancellor's determination that the requested relief could not be granted because of the harmful psychological effect of racial segregation, it did not otherwise review his factual findings in this regard. Denying petitioners' plea for time to equalize the facilities in question, the Supreme Court held that in the high school case: (1) a decree ordering petitioners to equalize the facilities in question could have no effect on the legal entity having control of the Wilmington public schools which was not a party to the cause; and (2) that the court did not see how it could supervise and control the expenditure of state funds in a matter committed to the administrative discretion of school authorities. Finally, the court held that it could not issue a decree which would, in effect, deny to plaintiffs what it had held they rightfully deserved. As to the elementary school, the court also noted that defendants had not assumed the burden of showing to what extent remedial legislation had improved or could improve conditions in the future. Alluding to its antecedent discussion of the question of relief for high school respondents, it affirmed the Chancellor's finding on this issue also.

Stay of the order was denied by the Chancellor and by the Supreme Court of Delaware (Brief of Respondents, No. 448, October Term, 1952, pp. 25–27) and respondents and members of their class are now enjoying their second year of equal educational opportunities under the decree.

This court's order

These four cases were argued and submitted to the Court on December 9–11, 1952. Thereafter, on June 8, 1953, this Court entered its order for reargument, as follows, ___U.S. ___; 97 L. ed. (Advance p. 956):

"Each of these cases is ordered restored to the docket and is assigned for reargument on Monday, October 12, next. In their briefs and on oral argument counsel are requested to discuss particularly the following questions insofar as they are relevant to the respective cases:

  1. What evidence is there that the Congress which submitted and the State legislatures and conventions which ratified the Fourteenth Amendment contemplated or did not contemplate, understood or did not understand, that it would abolish segregation in public schools?
  2. If neither the Congress in submitting nor the States in ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment understood that compliance with it would require the immediate abolition of segregation in public schools, was it nevertheless the understanding of the framers of the Amendment
    1. that future Congresses might, in the exercise of their power under Sec. 5 of the Amendment, abolish such segregation, or
    2. that it would be within the judicial power, in light of future conditions, to construe the Amendment as abolishing such segregation of its own force?
  3. On the assumption that the answers to questions 2(a) and (b) do not dispose of the issue, is it within the judicial power, in construing the Amendment, to abolish segregation in public schools?
  4. Assuming it is decided that segregation in public schools violates the Fourteenth Amendment
    1. would a decree necessarily follow providing that, within the limits set by normal geographic school districting, Negro children should forthwith be admitted to schools of their choice, or
    2. may this Court, in the exercise of its equity powers, permit an effective gradual adjustment to be brought about from existing segregated systems to a system not based on color distinctions?
  5. On the assumption on which questions 4(a) and (b) are based, and assuming further that this Court will exercise its equity powers to the end described in question 4(b),
    1. should this Court formulate detailed decrees in these cases;
    2. if so what specific issues should the decrees reach;
    3. should this Court appoint a special master to hear evidence with a view to recommending specific terms for such decrees;
    4. should this Court remand to the courts of first instance with directions to frame decrees in these cases, and if so, what general directions should the decrees of this Court include and what procedures should the courts of first instance follow in arriving at the specific terms of more detailed decrees?

"The Attorney General of the United States is invited to take part in the oral argument and to file an additional brief if he so desires."

On August 4, 1953, upon motion of the Attorney General of the United States and without objection by the parties, this Court entered its order postponing the date assigned for reargument of these cases until December 7, 1953.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953Brief for Appellants in Nos. 2 (1,) and 4 and for Respondents in No. on Reargument (10 ) - The Supreme Court Of The United States October Term, 1953, Appeals From The United States District Court For The District Of Kansas, The Eastern District Of South C