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Cooper v. Aaron

United States Supreme Court
358 U.S. 1 (1958)



In Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), the United States Supreme Court held that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional and ordered the desegregation of public schools in the southern United States. An Arkansas federal district court, relying on Brown, ordered the desegregation of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Little Rock school board was unable to comply with that decree after the Governor of Arkansas blocked African American students from attending a segregated school by calling in the National Guard. The district court issued an injunction against the Governor, and African American students were eventually permitted to attend desegregated schools with the protection of federal troops. The Little Rock school board, represented by Cooper (plaintiff), brought suit in federal district court seeking a postponement of the desegregation plan in the state due to the uneasy circumstances present. The suit was challenged by Aaron (defendant), representing African American children in Arkansas. The district court granted relief, but the court of appeals reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Warren, C.J.)

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