Brown vs Board of Education Essay

Submitted By josejuanjr
Words: 1371
Pages: 6

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Brown vs. The Board of Education. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Linda Brown who was denied admission to her local Elementary school because she was black. Linda Brown, an African American third grader, who lived in Topeka Kansas, had to walk one mile, through a railroad switch yard to get to her black school. Her father tried to get her into a white school, which was only a seven blocks away, but the principle of the school refused to allow her to enroll. Brown went to the head of Topeka’s NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and asked for his help, the NAACP was all to eager to help the Browns in their case against the school, they had been wanting to take on segregation in schools for quite some time. The case was described as, “the right plaintiff at the right time.” By 1951, with other black parents joining the cause, the NAACP pushed for an injunction to end segregation in Topeka’s public schools.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas heard their case. The NAACP argued that segregated schools gave the message to black children that they weren’t equal, and naturally inadequate. The board argued that segregated schools prepared them for their life under future segregation, and that segregation was not necessarily harmful to blacks, saying that they can succeed under those circumstances. After agreeing with Brown that segregated schools were damaging to blacks, but taking into account that no Supreme Court ruling had overturned the Plessy vs. Fergusson case, they decided to rule in favor of the Board.
Brown overrode the decision of the District of Kansas and went to the Supreme Court. They combined their cases with many others in various states. The Supreme Court first heard the case in 1952, but didn’t reach a decision. They reheard the trial in 1953, and requested that both sides discuss the 14th Amendment. This helped very little, they didn’t base their decision of whether or not the writers of the 14th amendment has segregated schools in mind, but if desegregated schools did not give black kids equal protection.
This ruling in turn overruled the “separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy vs. Fergusson. The Supreme Court decided that this in principle violated the 14th Amendment. The Court decided in 1955 that all schools must be desegregated as quickly as possible. The case gave fuel to the growing Civil Rights movement.
It should be noted that the 14th Amendment was put into place in 1868, and interpreted some 100 years later to extend rights to African Americans, without revisionism. The 14th Amendment was used as a basis to decide the ruling, but with the “separate but equal” ruling in the Plessy vs. Fergusson case, the rights guaranteed in the 14th Amendment were already extended to African Americans. They would receive the same rights as Whites and lawful protection from the government. The Supreme Court was not duly interpreting the Constitution in this case, but instead, giving in to the racial turmoil around them and ruling in favor of moral activism.
The 10th Amendment states that, “…powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Therefore, with the segregation not clearly defined as Constitutional or not, would be left up to the respective state to determine, not the Supreme Court.
The 11th Amendment states that a citizen cannot sue the state in a Federal Court. Therefore, the Supreme Court cannot extend it’s jurisdiction into state affairs, because it’s not defined in the Constitution, and therefore left up to State to determine. Therefore, speaking Constitutionally (the language of the law of the land), the State’s had the right to overturn a federal decision made by the Supreme Court, and buck it accordingly. Accordingly, and an Executive Decision from the National level to override a governor…