MISSOURI v. JENKINS

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
88-1150
Petitioner 
Missouri
Respondent 
Jenkins
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

In order to combat segregation in public schools in compliance with court directives, the Kansas City, Missouri School District (KCMSD) sought to enhance the quality of schools and to attract more white students from the suburbs. The KCMSD's ability to raise taxes, however, was limited by state law. After determining that the District did not have alternative means of raising revenue for the program, federal district judge Russell G. Clark ordered an increase of local property taxes for the 1991-92 fiscal year. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the decision, but ruled that the courts should enjoin state tax laws that prevented the District from raising the necessary funds and allow the state to set tax rates.

Question 

Did the court order to increase property taxes violate Article III, the Tenth Amendment, or principles of federal/state comity?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Jenkins, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including Appellate Procedure (or relevant rules of a circuit court)

The Court held that the District Court "abused its discretion" by imposing a specific tax increase. The Court also held, however, that the modifications of the District Court's order made by the Court of Appeals satisfied "equitable and constitutional principles governing the District Court's power...." The majority found that court orders directing local governments to levy their own taxes were "plainly" judicial acts within the powers of federal courts. When a constitutional justification existed, courts had the authority to order tax increases despite statutory limitations. The Court reasoned that "[t]o hold otherwise would fail to take account of the obligations of local governments, under the Supremacy Clause, to fulfill the requirements that the Constitution imposes on them."

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MISSOURI v. JENKINS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 12 December 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_88_1150>.
MISSOURI v. JENKINS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_88_1150 (last visited December 12, 2014).
"MISSOURI v. JENKINS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed December 12, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_88_1150.