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Indiana ex rel. Anderson v. Brand

United States Supreme Court
303 U.S. 95 (1938)


Dorothy Anderson (plaintiff) was a public-school teacher in Indiana. In 1924, Anderson signed a contract to teach in township schools. Her contracts were subsequently renewed, and she taught continuously in township schools through the 1933-1934 school year. Beginning in 1931, her contracts contained a clause directing that the Indiana Teachers’ Tenure Act of 1927 (the Act) was in full force and effect. The Act provided that teachers of five or more successive years, upon execution of another contract, became permanent teachers whose contracts continued indefinitely and could only be cancelled for just cause after a hearing. In 1933, the state amended the Act to omit township schools from its governance. Anderson filed a state court action against Harry Brand, an Indiana school official (defendant), seeking a mandate to compel the state to continue her employment. The complaint alleged that, after a just cause hearing, Brand notified Anderson that her contract would be cancelled after the 1933-1934 school year. That decision was affirmed by the county school superintendent. The court granted the state’s demurrer on two grounds: (1) the officials had authority to make the decision under the Act; and (2) the Act was repealed with respect to township teachers, and the repeal did not deprive Anderson of a vested right or impair her rights under the United States Constitution. The Indiana State Supreme Court affirmed on the second ground. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Roberts, J.)

Dissent (Black, J.)

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