Case Review – Brown v. Board of Education, 347 US 483 (1954)

Case Scenario 3: Brown v. Board of Education, 347 US 483 (1954)

Oliver Brown, a black learner, was deprived admittance to white-dominated public-owned school. Brown representing individuals in class action suit, he sued with the assertion that legislation that permitted segregation in public schools infringed on the 14th Amendment article that entailed equality protection. The district court used the precedent of Plessy vs Ferguson as the authority for its decision to uphold segregation of Brown and others (Brown v. Board of Education, 1953). Brown was thus forced to petition the US Supreme Court.

Facts of the Case

There had been a prevalent denial of admission of black children to community-owned public schools which exclusively admitted white children and this practice was guided by State Segregation legislations. The practice was prevalent in many regions such as Topeka and Kansas which was Oliver Brown’s residence. The tangible aspects upon which schools relied in their functionality were matched or are balanced. However, the petitioners contended that there was a disparity in the education service which was being offered in public schools which were attended by blacks which were inferior to that offered in public schools attended by whites. Segregation forced a continued inferiority on the blacks which led to the disparity in education service by leading to lack of motivation and cognitive educational developments (Case Summary and Case Brief, 2017).

Major Issue of the Case

The bone of contention in the case was the question to whether the 14th Amendment allowed the separate but equal principle, and also if the educational environments of the petitioners were at par with that of their white counterparts. Essentially, the issue was if the segregation based on race deprived black or minority children equal education chances which would mean that the Fourteenth Amendment is violated (Case Summary and Case Brief, 2017).

Rationale Given for the Case

The US Supreme Court contended that previous legislation and precedents did not give an actual implication of the Fourteenth Amendment since all of them were inconclusive. This was because, during the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment, there was no African-American child getting an education. Coupled by the fact that during the enactment only a few public schools were present and thus the precedents were not as useful. By determining the 14th Amendments’ meaning, the US Supreme Court asserted that the amendment basically posited the intention to prohibit any discrimination against minority communities. In spite of the notion of similarity of all educational facilities, the Court asserted the need of examination of the effects of segregation on pedagogical practices (Case Summary and Case Brief, 2017). Thus it held that the educational opportunities that the minorities were accorded had a deep and damaging effect on their minds and hearts. Thus, the Plessy vs Ferguson ruling was overturned, on the basis that it deprived the minorities of equal educational opportunities.

Holdings from the Judges

The dogma of ‘separate but equal’ had been misconstrued and was thus unconstitutionally implied under the equality protection article contained in the 14th Amendment. Brown with his counterparts were directed to be admitted in the white community-owned public schools which had denied them permission before (Brown v. Board of Education, 1953).

Reaction to the Case

This was a hallmark of the Justice Warren led decision of the judges and is very relevant in today’s schools (Klein, 2015). The desegregation that all students now enjoy is as a result of the judgment. Given the implications of the public education upon the life of an individual, there is a need to offer equal services to all individuals without caring about their race and ethnicity.