Brown v. Board of Education: Segregation of Public Education (05/17/1954)

Brown v. Board of Education

Does the segregation of public education based only on race violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Argued: 12/8-10/1952; 12/6-8/1953

Decision Date: 05/17/1954

Decision Record: 9-0; yes

Justices in Favor: Earl Warren, Hugo Black, Stanley Reed, Felix Frankfurter, William Douglas, Robert Jackson, Harold Burton, Tom Clark, Sherman Minton

Justices Dissenting: None

Effect of the Decision

This case ruled segregation in public schools is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In Favor

In the favoring side, attorneys Robert L. Carter, Thurgood Marshall, and Spottswood Robinson III argued on the side of Brown.


In the opposition, on the side of the the Board of Education, attorney Paul E.Wilson, John W. Davis, T. Justin Moore, and J. Lindsay Almond, Jr. argued.



The decision in this case was unanimous on the side of Brown. Justice Earl Warren delivered the opinion of the court. He wrote, “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. This disposition makes unnecessary any discussion whether such segregation also violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.[n12]

Because these are class actions, 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 reargument, the consideration of appropriate relief was necessarily subordinated to the primary question — the constitutionality of segregation in public education. We have now announced that such segregation is a denial of the equal protection of the laws. 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[n13] The Attorney General[p496] of the United States is again invited to participate. The Attorneys General of the states requiring or permitting segregation in public education will also be permitted to appear as amici curiae upon request to do so by September 15, 1954, and submission of briefs by October 1, 1954.”

My Opinion:

In this case, I agree with the court’s decision. Segregation was not only morally incorrect but it was not equal; not in the least bit. The Fourteenth Amendment’s famous clause “equal protection under the law” was completely violated under the “separate but equal” phrase that was implemented in the Plessy v. Ferguson case. Blacks and whites were more like “separate but unequal.” They were taught differently and were both treated differently by society. They had different park benches, restrooms, fountains, etc. The Plessy v. Ferguson case was what really gave the whites permission to treat the blacks horribly and keep them from coming in contact with other white people. The whites received things that were 100x more luxurious than that of the blacks. This is the pure meaning of inequality and that word definitely does not belong with and violates the Fourteenth Amendment.

*Justice Leaning L=Left, LC=Left of Center, C=Center, RC=Right of Center, R=Right

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