"Segregation is 'inherently unequal'"
TEXT OF OPINION: SEGREGATION IS 'INHERENTLY UNEQUAL' Education, Important Function $bf State, Must Be 'Available . To AH on Equal Terms, '.o Separate Children From Others of Sim- ilar Age and Qualifications . . . Solely I Because of Race Generates a Feeling: ofi Inferiority. WASHIXUTUX, May J7 (I P) ' FoHoumg m the text cf the Supreme Courl't unanimcut derision fiscy. written ami delivered by Chief Justice Karl Warren, out-laning racial segregation iu the public schools of the nation: T HESE CASES come to us from the states of Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia and Delaware. They are premised on different facts and different local conditions, but a common .legal question justifies their consideration together in this consolidated opinion. Iu each of these 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 non-segregated basis. In each instance, they had been denied admission to schools attended by white children under laws requiring ccpermitting segregation according to race. This segregation was -alleged to deprive the planitiffs of the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. "In each of the cases other than the Delaware case, a three-.judge Federal district court de-ifiled relief to the plaintiffs on rel. Gaines v. Vanada. 305 US 337; Sipuel v. Oklahoma, 332 U.S. 631; Sweatt v. Painter. 339 U.S. 629; McLaurin v. Okla prated school system." (Footnote 10.'. Whatever may have been the extent of psychological knowledge at the time of Plessy v. i Ferguson, this finding is amply supported by modern authority i Footnote 11.) any language in Plessy v. Ferguson contrary to this finding is rejected. conclude that in the field of public education the A tf t r I rt nf 's am a rat a Vint equal" has no puce, separate educational facilities are in h"ntiy unequal. ! Therfnrp. we hold that thp j Plaintiffs and others similarly have been brought are, by rea son of the segregation com plained of, deprived of the equal protection cf the laws guaran teed by the Fourteenth Amend' ment. This disposition makes unnecessary any discussion whether such segregation also violates the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment IFoot-note 12.). Because these are class actions, complex because of the wide applicability of this decision, and because of the great variety of local conditions, the formulation of decrees in these cases presents problems of considerable complexity. On re-argument, the consideration of appropriate relief was neces sarily subordinated to the primary question the constitutionality of segregation in public education. Segregation J'.l JH Associated Preas Wirephoto. Lawyers who pleaded case against segregation in public schools congratulate one another today as they leave Supreme Court Building in Washington after decision upholding their arguments. They are (from left): GEORGE E. C. HAYES, THURGOOD MARSHALL and JAMES M. NABRIT. appeal under 28 U.S.C. section 1253. In the South Carolina case, Briggs v. Elliott, the plaintiffs are Negro children of both elementary and high school age residing in Clarendon county. Suit Lawyers Va. Const., 140; Va. Code 22-221 (1950). The three-judge District Court, convened under 28 U.S.C 2281 and 2284, denied the requested relief. The court found the Negro school Inferior in Negro and while schools had been accomplished. 91 A. 2D 137, 152. The defendants, contending only, that the Delaware courts had erred in ordering the immediate admission of the Negro plaintiffs to the white schools, applied to this court for certiorari. The writ was wanted, 344 U.S. 891. The plaintiffs, who were successful below, did not submit a cross-petition. 2i 344, U. S. 1. 141,891. (3) 345 U. S. 972. The attor ney general of the United States participated both terms amicus curiae. (4) for a general study of the development of public education prior to the amendment, see Butts and Cremin, a History of Education in American Culture (1953), Pts. I, II; Cubbcrley. Public Education in the United States (1934 Ed.), CC. II-XII. School practices current at the time of the adoption of the fourteenth amendment are described in Butts and Crimen, supra, at 269-275; Cubberley, supra, at 288-339. 408-431; Knight, Public Education in The South (1922). CC. VIII, IX. See also H. Ex. Doc. No. 315, Forty-first Cong., 2d Sess. (1871). Although the demand for free public schools followed substantially the same pattern in both the North and the South, the development in the South did not begin to gain momentum un til about 1850, some twenty years after that in the north. The reasons for the somewhat slow Background of Cases Involved In School Segregation Decision All Deep-Rooted in State Law and Local Custom and Presented Momentous Question. WASHINGTON. May 17 (UP" c!Fniinwin. tn brief, are the backgrounds of the segregation cases involved in today's Supreme Court decision. The cases are deep-rooted in state law aim Islomftnd pmemcd" to the court one of the most momentous questions in its annals. The South Carolina case had been before the court once before because of a suit brought by Negro parents and pupils against segregation in school district 22 in Clarendon county. In that suit, brought against the school district, a three-maiv federal court in 1951 ruled unanimously that the district's Negro schools were inferior to those of the whites and directed equal facilities be provided in line with the "separate but equal" doctrine, as quickly as possible. At the same time, however, two of the judges expressed the opinion that segregation, itself, was constitutional. This part of the ruling was taken to the Supreme Court by the Negroes. The Supreme , the practice as "a way of life ! which did no naim 10 euner i aie- . . . The Kansas case originated la 19")1 in Topeka. the state capital, where segregation was prac- Uced only , in the elementary SCIIOOIS 111 KCtpn'B law permitting certain areas to ' impose segregation if they to desired. This law applied 'to, cities of more than 15,000 population, of which there are only' a handful in the state. A three -judge federal court-upheld the constitutionality of, the Kansas law and segregation 1 in Topeka but observed that segregation is "detrimental." The Delaware case differed from the other four. In this litigation a state court ordered admission of Negroes to two white , schools in Wilmington on the' ground that the Negro schools were not the equal of the white schools. This opinion was upheld by a ! ctflt, ennrpme court but it did i nnt pass on (le constitutionality j of segregation. The State of