402 U.S. 43 (1971), 498, North Carolina State Board of Education v. Swann

Docket Nº:No. 498
Citation:402 U.S. 43, 91 S.Ct. 1284, 28 L.Ed.2d 586
Party Name:North Carolina State Board of Education v. Swann
Case Date:April 20, 1971
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 43

402 U.S. 43 (1971)

91 S.Ct. 1284, 28 L.Ed.2d 586

North Carolina State Board of Education



No. 498

United States Supreme Court

April 20, 1971

Argued October 13, 1970




North Carolina's Anti-Busing Law, which flatly forbids assignment of any student on account of race or for the purpose of creating a racial balance or ratio in the schools and which prohibits busing for such purposes, held invalid as preventing implementation of desegregation plans required by the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 45-46.

312 F.Supp. 503, affirmed.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

BURGER, J., lead opinion

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case is here on direct appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1253 from the judgment of a three-judge court in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. The District Court declared unconstitutional a portion of the North Carolina General

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Statutes known as the Anti-Busing Law,1 and granted an injunction against its enforcement.2 The proceeding before the three-judge court was an ancillary proceeding connected with the school desegregation case heretofore discussed, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, ante, p. 1. The instant appeal was taken by the North Carolina State Board of Education and four state officials. We granted the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board's motion to join in the appeal, 400 U.S. 804 (1970).

When the litigation in the Swann case recommenced in the spring of 1969, the District Court specifically directed that the school board consider altering attendance areas, pairing or consolidation of schools, bus transportation of students, and any other method which would effectuate a racially unitary system. That litigation was actively prosecuted. The board submitted a series of proposals, all rejected by the District Court as inadequate. In the midst of this litigation over the remedy to implement the District Court's order, the North Carolina Legislature enacted the anti-busing bill, set forth in relevant part in footnote 1.

Following enactment of the anti-busing statute, the plaintiffs in the Swann case obtained leave to file a supplemental

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complaint which sought injunctive and declaratory relief against the statute. They sought to convene a three-judge [91 S.Ct. 1286] court,, but no action was taken on the requests at that time because the school board thought that the anti-busing law did not interfere with the school board's proposed plan to transport about 4,000 Negro children to white suburban schools. 306 F. Supp 1291 (WDNC 1969). Other parties were added as defendants by order of the District Court dated February 25. In addition, certain persons who had brought a suit in state court to enjoin or impede the order of the federal court, the attorneys for those litigants, and...

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