Court Case Historically, Gaines V. Term Paper

Length: 10 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Business - Law Type: Term Paper Paper: #71342480 Related Topics: Courts, Supreme Court Case, Supreme Court, Ovid
Excerpt from Term Paper :

But if Houston insisted that Plessy be enforced that is, if the NAACP sued a state to make its schools for black children equal to those for whites which Plessy did require then he could undermine segregation. (Jomills Henry Braddock. A Long-Term View of School Desegregation: Some Recent Studies of Graduates as Adults. Phi Delta Kappan. 259-61. 1984)

He reasoned that states would either have to build new schools for blacks something they could not afford or admit them into white schools. If the Court agreed with his argument, then he could challenge segregation itself. Houston decided that the NAACP had to carefully pick cases that they stood a good chance on winning. Those cases would then establish a precedent that "would make plain the inequality" in the educational opportunities of blacks and whites. Houston was convinced that the battle for civil rights had to be won in the schools, but fought in the courts. He felt that his strongest case of inequality in education would at the graduate-school level. Most segregated states did not provide graduate studies for blacks, and did not allow them into white graduate schools. In Missouri he found the case he wanted. Lloyd Gaines, a college graduate, had been denied entrance to the law school at the University of Missouri because he was black. Instead, Missouri offered to pay his expenses for law school outside the state. Houston argued that Missouri was obligated to either build a law school for blacks equal to that of whites or admit him to the University of Missouri. (Gary Orfield and Susan E. Eaton, eds., Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education. New York: The New Press, 1996)

The Gaines decision breached the walls of segregation. It meant that every state now had to either build a separate graduate school for blacks or integrate. Houston knew that the Gaines decision was monumental. By extending the reasoning of the Gaines case, states would have to either build equal facilities for blacks on every level or admit blacks to white schools. The Gaines case has proved to be a major stepping stone on the road to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the 1954 case that declared segregation in education unconstitutional. (James T. Patterson. Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy. Pivotal Moments in American History Series. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)

Does providing for the legal education of Missouri blacks in other states satisfy equal protection?

Personal Opinion

Equal protection is a subsidiary of human rights, and is to be provided to all, irrespective of any preference, discrimination and likeness. The system that fails to uphold the notion of equal protection is under moral and legal obligation to ensure the implementation of equal protection draft within the system. It is to be considered a malpractice, if the system admits the failure of the provision on its behalf, but recommends the complainant to avail the provisions for the equal protection from another system. It is wrong to believe that equal protection can be provided to residents of particular region, and be avoided to another class of it. Therefore if rights are to be provided, then these rights have to be provided to all without any discriminatory attitude. A resident and practitioner of particular system, in under no obligation to avail his or her fortunes from other system, running at parallel. Instead, it is the responsibility of the system itself to broaden the scope of its moral and legal conduct, so that the grievances of the complainant can be addressed and resolved, in accordance with the sufficiently elaborated parameters of the law, within legal pretext.

Legal cum Personal Opinion, references provided

Considering the relevant aspect with reference to the Court, the Court announced which reflected prominent contradictions between the Court of Missouri, and other adjacent states. The article has related and compared the system of Maryland with that of Missouri. Prior to the verdict of Gaines v. Canada, it was urged, that the provision for tuition outside the State is a temporary one, that it is intended to operate merely pending the establishment of a law department for negroes at Lincoln University, in that particular context discrimination may be termed temporary, it may nevertheless continue for an indefinite period by reason of the discretion given to the curators of Lincoln University and the alternative of arranging for tuition in other States, as permitted by the


According to the verdict, the curators found it unnecessary and impracticable to provide facilities for the legal instruction of negroes within the State and that is the based on temporary character. The court did not find that the decision of the state court turns on any procedural question. The action was for mandamus, but it did not appear that the remedy would have been deemed inappropriate if the asserted federal right had been sustained. In that situation the remedy by mandamus was found to be a proper one in University of Maryland v. Murray, supra. (Supreme Court of the United States 305 U.S. 337. Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, Registrar of the University of Missouri, et al. No. 57)

The state court did not rule that it would have been the duty of the curators to grant such an application, but on the contrary took the view, that the curators were entitled under the state law to refuse such an application and in its stead to provide for petitioner's tuition in an adjacent State. That conclusion presented the federal question as to the constitutional adequacy of such a provision while equal opportunity for legal training within the State was not furnished, and this federal question the state court entertained and passed upon. It was concluded that the court denied the federal right which petitioner set up and the question as to the correctness of that decision. The court was therefore of the opinion that the ruling was error, and that petitioner was entitled to be admitted to the law school of the State University in the absence of other and proper provision for his legal training within the State. Missouri has acted upon the view that the best interest of her people demands separation of whites and negroes in schools.

The court in view reservations of the white people, opinioned that if the Missouri has abandoned her law school, this would have been disadvantage for white citizens, and further has no purpose to be served with petitioner's opportunities for legal instruction. The court desired that the state should settle the practice concerning separate schools and thereby, as indicated by experience, demonstrated by both races. This is again not an encouraging decision.

The State has offered to provide the negro petitioner opportunity for study of the law, if perchance that is the thing really desired, by paying his tuition at some nearby school of good standing. On contrary, the white people were provided with sufficient scholarship and financial assistance. The problem presented obviously was a difficult and highly practical one. A fair effort to solve it has been made by offering adequate opportunity for study when sought in good faith. The State should not be unduly hampered through theorization inadequately restrained by experience.

This proceeding commenced in April, 1936. Petitioner then twenty-four years old asked mandamus to compel his admission to the University in September, 1936, notwithstanding plain legislative inhibition. Mandamus is not a writ of right but is granted only in the court's discretion upon consideration of all the circumstances.

The Supreme Court of Missouri did not consider the propriety of granting the writ under the theory of the law now accepted here. It was manifested that this discrimination, if not relieved by the provisions would constitute a denial of equal protection. That was the conclusion of the Court of Appeals of Maryland in circumstances substantially similar in that aspect. University of Maryland v. Murray, 169 Md. 478; 182 a. 590. It was believed that the students of the State of Maryland had "undertaken the function of education in the law" but had "omitted students of one race from the only adequate provision made for it, and omitted them solely because of their color"; that if those students were to be offered "equal treatment in the performance of the function, they must, at present, be admitted to the one school provided." A provision for scholarships to enable negroes to attend colleges outside the State, mainly for the purpose of professional studies, was found to be inadequate and the question, "whether with aid in any amount it is sufficient to send the negroes outside the State for legal education," the Court of Appeals found it unnecessary to discuss. Accordingly, a writ of mandamus to admit the applicant was issued to the officers and regents of the University of Maryland as the agents of the State entrusted with the conduct of that institution. (Supreme…

Sources Used in Documents:


Supreme court of the United States 305 U.S. 337. Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, Registrar of the University of Missouri, et al. No. 57

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, ed. Phillips Bradley, 2 vols. (New York: Vintage Books, 1961

Robert J. Harris, "The Constitution, Education, and Segregation," 29 Temple Law Quarterly 409, 416 (1956).

Paul L. Rosen. The Supreme Court and Social Science. University of Illinois Press, 1972

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