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Palmore v. Sidoti

United States Supreme Court
466 U.S. 429 (1984)



Anthony and Linda Sidoti, both Caucasians, were married. They had one child, a three-year-old daughter. The couple later divorced, and Linda began cohabitating with and soon remarried Clarence Palmore, Jr., an African American. After learning of this, Anthony Sidoti (plaintiff) sought sole custody of their child in Florida state court from Linda Sidoti Palmore (defendant). He cited “changed conditions” as grounds for his petition, as well as making several allegations of instances in which Linda had not properly cared for their child. After hearing testimony from both parties, the Florida court made no findings of fact which indicated that the child had not been properly cared for by any of the parties involved. However, the court relied on the recommendation of a counselor and awarded custody to Anthony on the grounds that Linda had chosen a socially-unacceptable lifestyle for herself and her child by marrying an African American man, and was thus subjecting her child to racial stigma once the child entered school. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

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