Brief Fact Summary. After ruling school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (Brown I), local school boards sought judicial guidance as to the appropriate remedy for the segregation.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Federal courts may sit in equity to enforce judgments of the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court).
Issue. What is the appropriate judicial remedy for the damages caused by school segregation?
Held. Cases remanded to federal district courts for equitable resolution.
Chief Justice Earl Warren (J. Warren) stated that local school districts were to come into compliance with Brown I at the earliest possible date. J. Warren also notes that the steps toward compliance would vary depending on the circumstances present in various local school systems.
Because of the variety of local problems, the Supreme Court remanded the individual cases to the district courts in which the suits were filed, asking that the district courts apply principles of equity to guide individual districts into compliance with the tenets of Brown I. Equitable remedies were appropriate because of the traditional flexibility of such remedies and because of the ability of equity to reconcile the personal stakes of the plaintiffs with the public interest in the elimination of obstacles to the implementation of Brown I.
While giving weight to these public and private considerations, the courts will require that the defendants make a prompt and reasonable start toward full compliance with our May 17, 1954, ruling.View Full Point of Law