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Brown v. Board of Education (Brown I)

347 U.S. 483 (1954)

tl;dr: Segregation of public schools on the basis of race is unconstitutional.

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The case of Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka et al. involved minors of the Negro race seeking admission to public schools on a nonsegregated basis. The plaintiffs argued that segregated public schools are not equal and therefore violate the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court of Delaware ordered that the plaintiffs be admitted to the white schools because of their superiority to the Negro schools, but the three-judge federal district court denied relief to the plaintiffs on the "separate but equal" doctrine. The Supreme Court took jurisdiction due to the importance of the question presented and found that the history of the Fourteenth Amendment is inconclusive with respect to segregated schools due to the status of public education at the time. The Court concluded that there is little in the history of the Fourteenth Amendment relating to its intended effect on public education.

The Supreme Court initially interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment as prohibiting all state-imposed discrimination against the Negro race. The "separate but equal" doctrine did not appear until 1896 in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. The Court has dealt with six cases involving the "separate but equal" doctrine in public education, with recent cases finding inequality in specific benefits enjoyed by white students being denied to Negro students of the same qualifications. In the current cases, the question of whether segregation in public schools deprives plaintiffs of equal protection of the laws is directly presented. The effect of segregation on public education must be considered in the context of its full development and present place in American life throughout the nation. The court must determine if segregation in public schools violates the plaintiffs' equal protection rights.

Education is a fundamental right and segregation in public schools based on race deprives minority children of equal educational opportunities, even if tangible factors are equal. Segregating children based on race creates a sense of inferiority that negatively impacts their motivation to learn and mental development. The doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place in public education, as separate facilities are inherently unequal. Segregation violates the right to equal educational opportunities and the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The court does not need to discuss whether segregation also violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The court has ruled that segregation in public education is unconstitutional and has asked for further arguments from the parties on how to provide appropriate relief. The Attorney General of the United States is invited to participate, and the Attorneys General of states allowing segregation may appear as amici curiae upon request and submission of briefs. The cases will be restored to the docket for further consideration.

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IRACIssue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion

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Facts & Holding

Facts:Kansas, SC, Virginia, and Delaware all have segregated public schoolsSeveral...

Holding:The amendment’s history is not enough to resolve this case,...

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Brown v. Board of Education (Brown I)

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