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Brown v. Board of Education (II)

    Brief Fact Summary. This case was decided in order to define the manner in which relief, as held in Brown I, is to be accorded.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. It is up to the courts to decide whether the action of the school authorities constitutes good faith implementation of the governing constitutional principles.

    Facts. These cases were decided on May 17, 1954. The opinions of that date, declaring the fundamental principle that racial discrimination in public education is unconstitutional, is incorporated by reference. There remains for consideration the manner in which relief is to be accorded. The Court invited the Attorney General of the United States and the Attorneys General of all states requiring or permitting racial discrimination in public education to present their views on this question. The parties, the United States, and six states participated in the argument.

    Issue. Whether the action of the school authorities constitutes good faith implementation of the governing constitutional principles.

    Held. Yes. Case remanded to the lower courts to take such proceedings and enter such orders and decrees consistent with this opinion. School authorities have the primary responsibility of desegregating their schools. The courts will then determine whether the action of the school authorities constitutes good faith implementation of the governing constitutional principles. Because of their proximity to local conditions and the possible need for future hearings, the courts which originally heard the cases can best perform this judicial appraisal. The courts will require that the defendants make a prompt and reasonable start towards full compliance with Brown I. Once such a start has been made, the courts may find that additional time is necessary to carry out the ruling in an effective manner. The burden rests on the school authorities to establish that such time is necessary in the public interest and is consistent with good faith compliance at the earliest practicable date.

    Discussion. This case acted as a judicial follow-up to Brown I, and further delegated and delineated the responsibilities of implementing Brown I.


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