COOPER v. AARON
The Governor and the Legislature of Arkansas openly resisted the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education. They refused to obey court orders designed to implement school desegregation. Local officials delayed plans to do away with segregated public facilities.
Were Arkansas officials bound by federal court orders mandating desegregation?
Legal provision: Equal Protection
In a signed, unanimous per curiam opinion, the Court held that the Arkansas officials were bound by federal court orders that rested on the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The Court noted that its interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment in Brown was the supreme law of the land and that it had a "binding effect" on the states. The Court reaffirmed its commitment to desegregation and reiterated that legislatures are not at liberty to annul judgments of the Court.
Chief Justice Earl Warren: Number 1, Miscellaneous, John Aaron et al., Petitioners versus William G.Cooper et al., Members of the Board of Directors of The Little Rock, Arkansas Independent School District, and Virgil T.Blossom, Superintendent of Schools, and William G.Cooper et al., Members of the Board of Directors of the Little Rock, Arkansas Independent School District and Virgil T.Blossom, Superintendent of Schools, Petitioner versus John Aaron et al.
I have the following per curiam judgment, The Court having been fully -- having fully deliberated upon the oral arguments had on August 28, 1958, as supplemented by the arguments presented on September 11, 1958 and all the briefs on file is unanimously of the opinion, that the judgment of the Court of Appeals with the Eighth Circuit of August 18, 1958 must be affirmed.
In view of the eminent commencement of the new school year at the Central High School of Little Rock, Arkansas, we deem it important to make prompt announcement of our judgment affirming the Court of Appeals.
The expression of the views supporting our judgment will be prepared and announced in due course.
It is accordingly ordered that the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, dated August 18, 1958, reversing the judgment of the District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, dated June 20, 1958, be affirmed and that the judgments of the District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, dated August 28, 1956 and September 3rd, 1957, enforcing the School Board's plan for desegregation in compliance with the decision of this Court in Brown versus Board of Education, 347 U.S.483 and 349 U.S.294, be reinstated.
It follows that the order of the Court of Appeals dated August 21, 1958, staying its own mandate is of no further effect.
The judgment of this Court shall be effective immediately and shall be communicated forthwith to the District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
The Court will now be in recess until the further order of the Court.