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Palmer v. Thompson

United States Supreme Court
403 U.S. 217 (1971)



In 1962, the City of Jackson, Mississippi operated five public parks, swimming pools, and other public facilities on a racially segregated basis. Four of the swimming pools were designated for use by Caucasians only. The fifth pool was designated for use by African Americans only. Several African American plaintiffs challenged the segregation, alleging that it violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The district court hearing the case held the segregation unconstitutional, but refused to issue an injunction to stop the practice. The court of appeals affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari. The City then proceeded to desegregate these public facilities, but declined to operate its swimming pools on a desegregated basis. The City closed four of its pools. Palmer (plaintiff), an African American resident of Jackson, and several other African American residents brought suit against Thompson (defendant), a City of Jackson official, in federal district court challenging the closing of the pools and seeking to convince the city to reopen them on a non-segregated basis. The district court denied this request, and the court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

Concurrence (Burger, C.J.)

Concurrence (Blackmun, J.)

Dissent (Douglas, J.)

Dissent (White, J.)

Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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