Brown v. Board of Education of
Linda Brown was a third grader in
who had to walk a mile through railway yards to get to her segregated elementary school although a white school was only seven blocks away. The NAACP took her case to test the "separate but equal" doctrine dating from the 1896 Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. By the time the case reached the Supreme Court, it had been combined with other cases challenging school desegregation in
. In one of the most significant rulings of the 20th century, the US Supreme Court in 1954 unanimously outlawed as unconstitutional the mandatory racial segregation of public schools that existed in 21 states on the grounds that segregated facilities are "inherently equal." In 1955, the Supreme Court ruled that schools should comply with the ruling "with all deliberate speed" which could be (and was) interpreted to mean there was no rush.
Read the decision: http://www.oyez.org/cases/1950-1959/1952/1952_1/
Browder v. Gayle (1956)
A year before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in
, 15-year old Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald and Mary Louise Smith had taken a similar action to challenge
's segregated buses. In February 1956, with the
bus boycott well underway, these four women brought suit in
district court arguing that the segregated buses deprived them of their Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection of the laws. Drawing upon the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the district court judges agreed with their claims. In December 1956, the US Supreme Court upheld the lower court ruling in Browder v. Gayle, bringing victory to the organizers of the year-long
Read more about the case: http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/about_king/encyclopedia/browdervgayle.htm
In a case from
, the Supreme Court ordered the states to dismantle segregated schools "root and branch," saying the "time for mere deliberate speed has run out. Schools had to desegregate their staff, facilities, extracurricular activities and transport systems.
To read the decision: http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1967/1967_695/
Board of Education (1969)
Again, the Supreme Court said that 15 years after the Brown decision, the time for "all deliberate speed" had come to an end, and
schools had to be immediately desegregated.
To read the decision: http://supreme.justia.com/us/396/1218/case.html
Board of Education (1971)
In this case involving a single school district which combined the city of
and largely white suburbs, the Supreme Court ruled that busing and the creation of magnet schools were appropriate tools to desegregate education.
Listen to the oral argument: http://www.oyez.org/oyez/resource/case/374/
Milliken v. Bradley (1974)
The Supreme Court by 5-4 decided that students cannot be bused across school district lines from the largely Black schools of the City of
to the largely white schools of the surrounding suburbs. If more than one school district is involved, there cannot be a metropolitan-wide desegregation plan. The court said that before school district boundaries could be crossed in this way, "it must be shown that racially discriminatory acts of state or local school districts, or the single school district have been a substantial cause of inter-district segregation." The cause cannot be the fact of residential segregation.
Listen to the oral argument: http://www.oyez.org/oyez/resource/case/248/
Regents of the
v. Bakke (1978)
Allan Bakke was a white student in his 30s with a medical aptitude score below that required for regular admission. When he did not get into the
California's medical school at
, he went to court. He argued that the school had wrongly reserved 16 out of 100 places for African Americans, Mexican-Americans and other minorities and that less rigorous standards were required for these students. A divided Supreme Court ruled that the set aside provisions ("quotas") were unconstitutional, and that Bakke should be admitted. It said race could be a factor in admissions, but could not be the deciding factor.
Listen to the oral argument: http://www.oyez.org/oyez/resource/case/324/
Morse v. Frederick (2007)
The Court upheld the right of a school principal in Juneau, Alaska, to punish Joseph Frederick, a student who held up the banner "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" before television cameras during the January 2002 Olympic Torch Relay. Chief Justice Roberts' opinion stated: "We hold that schools may take steps to safeguard those entrusted to their care from speech that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use." In his strongly worded dissent, Justice Stevens declared "that the school's interest in protecting its students from exposure to speech 'reasonably regarded as promoting illegal drug use' cannot justify disciplining Frederick for his attempt to make an ambiguous statement to a television audience simply because it contained an oblique reference to drugs. The First Amendment demands more, indeed, much more."
Learn more: http://www.lawmemo.com/sct/06/Morse/