Text of Brown v. Board of Education

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Part of the series on
U.S. Discrimination Law
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Standards of Review

Rational basis review
Intermediate scrutiny
Strict scrutiny

Other Legal Theories

Substantive due process
State action doctrine

Defining Moments in Law

The 14th Amendment
Plessy v. Ferguson
Brown v. Board of Education
Loving v. Virginia
U.S. v. Virginia
Romer v. Evans
Lawrence v. Texas

Modalities of Constitutional Law

Textual
Responsive

Brown v. Board was a landmark, and extremely controversial, 1954 Supreme Court decision that order racial desegregation of public schools. It was based on the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, and on some social science research that claimed to show that black children have trouble learning unless white children are in the classroom. The decision led to later decisions requiring forced racial busing of school children.

Law & Social Change

It is debatable how much actual desegregation was caused by this and related federal court decision. This raises interesting questions as to the role of the Supreme Court in bringing about actual social change. No one today will dispute the need to end the earlier system of segregated schools, and the importance of the decision, but many will query whether it changed that much, or if its use was rather in sending a definitive signal that the days of segregation and institutionalized racism were at a close.

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