SWANN v. CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG BD. OF ED.

Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
281
Petitioner 
Swann
Respondent 
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Ed.
Consolidation 
No. 349
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for petitioners in No. 281 and respondents in No. 349)
(Argued the cause for petitioners in No. 281 and respondents in No. 349)
(Argued the cause for respondents in No. 281 and petitioners in No. 349)
(Argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae in both cases)
(Argued the cause for respondents in No. 281 and petitioners in No. 349)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

After the Supreme Court's decision in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education, little progress had been made in desegregating public schools. One example was the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, system in which approximately 14,000 black students attended schools that were either totally black or more than 99 percent black. Lower courts had experimented with a number of possible solutions when the case reached the Supreme Court.

Question 

Were federal courts constitutionally authorized to oversee and produce remedies for state-imposed segregation?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Ed., 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

In a unanimous decision, the Court held that once violations of previous mandates directed at desegregating schools had occurred, the scope of district courts' equitable powers to remedy past wrongs were broad and flexible. The Court ruled that 1) remedial plans were to be judged by their effectiveness, and the use of mathematical ratios or quotas were legitimate "starting points" for solutions; 2) predominantly or exclusively black schools required close scrutiny by courts; 3) non-contiguous attendance zones, as interim corrective measures, were within the courts' remedial powers; and 4) no rigid guidelines could be established concerning busing of students to particular schools.

Cite this Page
SWANN v. CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG BD. OF ED.. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 10 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_281/>.
SWANN v. CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG BD. OF ED., The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_281/ (last visited November 10, 2014).
"SWANN v. CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG BD. OF ED.," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 10, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_281/.