Bolling v. Sharpe
347 U.S. 497 (1954)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954)

Bolling v. Sharpe

No. 8

Argued December 10-11, 1952

Reargued December 9, 1953

Decided May 17, 1954

347 U.S. 497


Racial segregation in the public schools of the District of Columbia is a denial to Negro children of the due process of law guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. Pp. 347 U. S. 498-500.

(a) Though the Fifth Amendment does not contain an equal protection clause, as does the Fourteenth Amendment, which applies only to the States, the concepts of equal protection and due process are not mutually exclusive. P. 347 U. S. 499.

(b) Discrimination may be so unjustifiable as to be violative of due process. P. 347 U. S. 499.

(c) Segregation in public education is not reasonably related to any proper governmental objective, and thus it imposes on Negro children of the District of Columbia a burden that constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of their liberty in violation of the Due Process Clause. Pp. 347 U. S. 499-500.

(d) In view of this Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, ante, p. 347 U. S. 483, that the Constitution prohibits the States from maintaining racially segregated public schools, it would be unthinkable that the same Constitution would impose a lesser duty on the Federal Government. P. 347 U. S. 500.

(e) The case is restored to the docket for further argument on specified questions relating to the form of the decree. P. 347 U. S. 500.

Page 347 U. S. 498

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Primary Holding

Mirroring the decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the Court ruled that school segregation by race in the District of Columbia was as unconstitutional as school segregation by race in the states.