Bolling v. Sharpe, No. 8

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWARREN
Citation98 L.Ed. 884,347 U.S. 497,74 S.Ct. 693
Decision Date17 May 1954
Docket NumberNo. 8
PartiesBOLLING et al. v. SHARPE et al. Re

347 U.S. 497
74 S.Ct. 693
98 L.Ed. 884
BOLLING et al.

v.

SHARPE et al.

No. 8.
Reargued Dec. 8, 9, 1953.
Decided May 17, 1954.

Messrs.

George E. C. Hayes, James M. Nabrit, Washington, D.C., for petitioners.

Mr. Milton D. Korman, Washington, D.C., for respondents.

Page 498

Mr. Chief Justice WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case challenges the validity of segregation in the public schools of the District of Columbia. The petitioners, minors of the Negro race, allege that such segregation deprives them of due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. They were refused admission to a public school attended by white children solely because of their race. They sought the aid of the District Court for the District of Columbia in obtaining admission. That court dismissed their complaint. The Court granted a writ of certiorari before judgment in the Court of Appeals because of the importance of the constitutional question presented. 344 U.S. 873, 73 S.Ct. 173, 97 L.Ed. 676.

We have this day held that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the states from maintaining racially segregated public schools.1 The legal problem in the District of Columbia is somewhat

Page 499

different, however. The Fifth Amendment, which is applicable in the District of Columbia, does not contain an equal protection clause as does the Fourteenth Amendment which applies only to the states. But the concepts of equal protection and due process, both stemming from our American ideal of fairness, are not mutually exclusive. The 'equal protection of the laws' is a more explicit safeguard of prohibited unfairness than 'due process of law,' and, therefore, we do not imply that the two are always interchangeable phrases. But, as this Court has recognized, discrimination may be so unjustifiable as to be violative of due process.2

Classifications based solely upon race must be scrutinized with particular care, since they are contrary to our traditions and hence constitutionally suspect.3 As long ago as 1896, this Court declared the principle 'that the constitution of the United States, in its present form, forbids, so far as civil and political rights are concerned, discrimination by the general government, or by the states, against any citizen because of his race.'4 And in Buchanan v. Warley, 245 U.S. 60, 38 S.Ct. 16, 62 L.Ed. 149, the Court held that a statute which limited the right of a property owner to convey his property...

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1940 practice notes
  • Brown v. County of San Joaquin, No. CIV.S-83-1464 RAR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • January 22, 1985
    ...a Constitution for a free people, there can be no doubt that the meaning of "liberty" must be broad indeed. See, e.g., Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 499-500 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L.Ed. 884; Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645 92 S.Ct. 1208, 31 L.Ed.2d Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. at 571-7......
  • Colbert v. Dist. of Columbia, Civil Action No. 13–531 (RMC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 13, 2013
    ...which applies to the States. Propert v. District of Columbia, 948 F.2d 1327, 1330 n.5 (D.C.Cir.1991) (citing Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 499, 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L.Ed. 884 (1954)). The ultimate legal analysis is the same, however, and cases analyzing States' liability under the Due Proces......
  • United States v. Nelson, No. G78-115 CR5.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • February 15, 1980
    ...461 F.2d 1148 (9th Cir. 1972); Washington v. United States, 130 U.S.App.D.C. 374, 401 F.2d 915 (U.S.App.D.C.1968); Cf., Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L.Ed. 884 (1954). In addressing this issue, however, the Supreme Court has indicated that selectivity in prosecution alon......
  • Mancuso v. Taft, No. 72-1180.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • March 20, 1973
    ...was not faced with, and did not rule on, an equal protection challenge. Indeed, until the Supreme Court's decision in Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L.Ed. 884 (1954), it was not clear that the equal protection clause was fully applicable, through the Fifth Amendment's due......
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1917 cases
  • Brown v. County of San Joaquin, No. CIV.S-83-1464 RAR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • January 22, 1985
    ...a Constitution for a free people, there can be no doubt that the meaning of "liberty" must be broad indeed. See, e.g., Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 499-500 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L.Ed. 884; Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645 92 S.Ct. 1208, 31 L.Ed.2d Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. at 571-7......
  • Colbert v. Dist. of Columbia, Civil Action No. 13–531 (RMC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 13, 2013
    ...which applies to the States. Propert v. District of Columbia, 948 F.2d 1327, 1330 n.5 (D.C.Cir.1991) (citing Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 499, 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L.Ed. 884 (1954)). The ultimate legal analysis is the same, however, and cases analyzing States' liability under the Due Proces......
  • United States v. Nelson, No. G78-115 CR5.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • February 15, 1980
    ...461 F.2d 1148 (9th Cir. 1972); Washington v. United States, 130 U.S.App.D.C. 374, 401 F.2d 915 (U.S.App.D.C.1968); Cf., Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L.Ed. 884 (1954). In addressing this issue, however, the Supreme Court has indicated that selectivity in prosecution alon......
  • Mancuso v. Taft, No. 72-1180.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • March 20, 1973
    ...was not faced with, and did not rule on, an equal protection challenge. Indeed, until the Supreme Court's decision in Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L.Ed. 884 (1954), it was not clear that the equal protection clause was fully applicable, through the Fifth Amendment's due......
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10 books & journal articles
  • The Insular Cases Run Amok: Against Constitutional Exceptionalism in the Territories.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 8, June 2022
    • June 1, 2022
    ...included equal protection on the list well before it had been "reverse" incorporated into the Due Process Clause under Boiling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 500 (1954). Soon after Downes, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court interpreted the equal-protection guarantee as applicable in Puerto Rico. See E......
  • An Enduring American Heritage: A Substantive Due Process Right to Public Wild Lands
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 51-1, January 2021
    • January 1, 2021
    ...https:// www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_gtr095.pdf (mean score of 4.15/5 in national telephone survey of 7,069 people). 18. Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 500 (1954). 19. See infra Section IV.C; Peter A. Appel, Wilderness and the Courts , 29 Stan. Env’t L.J. 62, 98 (2010) (courts in Wildernes......
  • Citizen Suits Against States and Territories and the Eleventh Amendment
    • United States
    • The Clean Water Act and the Constitution. Legal Structure and the Public's Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment Part II
    • April 20, 2009
    ...Committee of Clinic Vendors v. District of Columbia, 695 F. Supp. 1234, 1241 n.6 (D.D.C. 1988). 149. See , e.g. , Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 498-99 (1954) (holding that the Fifth Amendment (federal due process), not the Fourteenth Amendment (state due process) applies to the District ......
  • Guiding Presidential Clemency Decision Making
    • United States
    • The Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy Nbr. 18-2, July 2020
    • July 1, 2020
    ...V (“No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law[.]”). 100. See, e.g., Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954); Ethan J. Leib & Jed Handelsman Shugerman, Fiduciary Constitutionalism: Implications for Self-Pardons and Non-Delegation, 17 GEO. J.L.......
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