Brown v. Board of Trustees of La Grange Ind. Sch. Dist., No. 13317.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtHUTCHESON, , and McCORD and BORAH, Circuit
Citation187 F.2d 20
PartiesBROWN v. BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF LA GRANGE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. et al.
Decision Date22 January 1951
Docket NumberNo. 13317.

187 F.2d 20 (1951)

BROWN
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF LA GRANGE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST.
et al.

No. 13317.

United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit.

January 22, 1951.


187 F.2d 21

Herman Wright, Houston, Tex., U. Simpson Tate, Dallas, Tex., Arthur J. Mandell, Houston, Tex., W. J. Durham, Dallas, Tex., for appellant.

Douglas W. McGregor, Houston, Tex., Miles L. Moss, LaGrange, Tex., for appellees.

Before HUTCHESON, Chief Judge, and McCORD and BORAH, Circuit Judges.

HUTCHESON, Chief Judge.

Julius Brown, a negro, as plaintiff, brought this suit as a claimant for the benefit of himself, his oldest daughter, Vivian, and all other persons of Negro blood and African descent. The original complaint, filed April 15, 1948, and the amendment thereto, filed November 22, 1949, sought a declaratory judgment, that, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, he and they had been subjected to racial discrimination and deprived of civil rights, and an injunction restraining the defendants from continuing such discrimination and deprivation.

Particularized, the claim was that the defendants, The LaGrange Independent School District and the Members of its Board of Trustees, had discriminated generally against all those for whose benefit the suit was brought by failing to provide at and for the Randolph Colored High School, buildings, grounds, facilities, and courses of study equal, and not inferior, to those provided for white high school students, and particularly against his daughter by providing for whites, and not providing for her, a course in chemistry which she wished, and was old enough, to take.

The defendants denied the charges made against them and pleaded affirmatively that the educational facilities maintained by the District for the use of the colored, were and are substantially equal to those maintained for the use of the white, pupils.

In addition, they urged below, and reurge here, that plaintiff's pleading and his evidence showed, as matter of law, that plaintiff was without right to maintain this suit, and that it should be dismissed, because it appears from pleading and evidence, without contradiction or dispute, that whatever may be the fact as to any other or others, no right of plaintiff is, or has been invaded or threatened.

The District Judge, taking with the case defendants' oral motion, to dismiss for want of a cause of action for the violation of a federal right, there was a full trial on oral testimony. At the conclusion of plaintiff's case, in the course of which the testimony on both sides and on all issues was fully developed, and again, at the conclusion of their own, the defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings and evidence, (1) for want of any showing by plaintiff of any right or cause of action, and (2) because plaintiff had wholly failed to prove substantial inequality and illegal discrimination.

The District Judge, disagreeing with defendants on their first, agreed with them on their second, ground, and, on fully detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law1 and a decree2 based on, and embodying,

187 F.2d 22
them, denied plaintiff's prayers for relief

Here, pointing to phases and aspects of the evidence which he claims clearly establish the discrimination and deprivation of civil rights claimed, plaintiff insists: that in finding that plaintiff's proof failed, the District Judge did so with a gaze too foreshortened, by regard for the over all picture, to see, with an eye single to relieving

187 F.2d 23
against them, the precise inequalities urged. He insists, in short, citing Carter v. School Board, 4 Cir., 182 F.2d 531 and Corbin v. County School Board, 4 Cir., 177 F.2d 924; that the over all findings were made with more regard for matching an inferiority here against a superiority there, a superiority here against an inferiority there, in the system as a whole than is allowed by law in cases of this kind; that plaintiff has sued to correct specific inequalities, and is not concerned
187 F.2d 24
with such matching. He particularly insists that it is no answer to his complaint: that, though the negro students have gotten the short end of the stick in respect of the matters he complains of, the white students have gotten it in others; and that, matching advantages with disadvantages, a fair balance is struck, equality is attained

The appellees, pointing out that plaintiff is not himself holding any end of the stick, short or long; that, therefore, under fundamental principles enshrined in the decisions dealing with civil rights claims under the Fourteenth Amendment, particularly with claims of the kind made here, he is not being deprived of any right personal to him, and that he has no standing to maintain this suit;3 insist that the suit should have been dismissed on that ground.

On the tendered issues of inequality and discrimination, they insist that the judgment was right and must be affirmed; that the findings of fact find full support in the record, and may not be set aside as clearly erroneous and the conclusions of law find equally full support in the decided cases.

We agree with appellees' first contention, that plaintiff has not been deprived of any civil right, therefore is without right to maintain this suit, and, it should have been dismissed for want of equity. We will not have to decide, therefore we will not concern ourselves over much with the questions of inequalities so much argued here. Indeed, other than to point out that this is not a suit like Sweat's and Carter's were, for specific relief which could be afforded by ordering admission to a particular school or course which had been illegally denied to him, but is a suit of a very different kind, we will not dwell long on them.

A suit to supervise and control by injunction the general conduct of a political subdivision of the State, this suit has for its purpose, not the mere according of a specific right which has been denied, but the establishment of a sort of general government by injunction over the school district in respect of its schools and school system. Such an injunction requiring detailed and continuous supervision over the conduct of a political subdivision is not congenial to equitable principles and practices and will not usually be granted.4

In addition, in the circumstances of this case, where, instead of demanding specific

187 F.2d 25
relief which he believes is denied him because of his color and which may be readily granted, plaintiff seeks to have the court, under his direction, take charge of and equalize an entire school system, we are not prepared to accede to appellant's position that such equalization, if undertaken, either with or without benefit of a court decree, must be brought about on a heads I win, tails you lose basis, that is, the inequalities to be ascertained and removed when they are against him, but to remain as they are, when in his favor

All of these considerations, however, are completely beside the mark here, for plaintiff has wholly failed to plead or prove any deprivation of his civil rights and it is elementary that he has no standing to sue for the deprivation of the civil rights of others. What the Supreme Court said in McCabe v. Atchison T. & S. F. Ry. Co., 235 U.S. 151 at pages 161-162 & 164, 35 S.Ct. 69, 71, 59 L.Ed. 169, and quoted with approval in State of Mo. ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337, 351, 59 S.Ct. 232, 83 L.Ed. 208, has precise application here:

"It is the individual who is entitled to the equal protection of the laws, and if he is denied * * * a facility or convenience * * * which, under substantially the same circumstances, is furnished to another traveler, he may properly complain that his constitutional privilege has been invaded.

"There is, however, an insuperable obstacle to the granting of the relief sought by this bill. It was filed, as we have seen,...

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41 practice notes
  • Javits v. Stevens, No. 73 Civ. 5339-LFM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 24, 1974
    ...Cir.), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 929, 85 S.Ct. 324, 13 L.Ed.2d 341 (1964); Brown v. Board of Trustees of La Grange Independent School Dist., 187 F.2d 20 (5th Cir. 1951); Mosher v. Beirne, 237 F.Supp. 684 (E.D.Mo. 1964), aff'd, 357 F.2d 638 (8th Cir. 1966). See also, Denman v. Wertz, 372 F.2d 1......
  • Romero v. Weakley, No. 1712-SD
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • May 5, 1955
    ...v. Rodgers, 284 U.S. 521, at page 530, 52 S.Ct. 217, 76 L.Ed. 447. Cf. Brown v. Board of Trustees of La Grange Ind. School Dist., 5 Cir., 187 F.2d 20 — and would pend only on behalf of those joined as plaintiffs under Rule 20, Federal Rules of Civil The Motion of the plaintiffs to amend the......
  • Tinsley v. Palo Alto Unified School Dist.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 13, 1979
    ...Co. (1914) 235 U.S. 151, 164, 35 S.Ct. 69, 72, 59 L.Ed. 169, 175; Brown v. Board of Trustees of La Grange Ind. Sch. Dist. (5th Cir. 1951) 187 F.2d 20, 25; and Tyree v. Smith (E.D.Tenn.N.D.1968) 289 F.Supp. 174, 175. Cf. Smith v. Wickline (W.D.Okl.1975) 396 F.Supp. 555, 557.) [91 Cal.App.3d ......
  • Shaw v. Garrison, No. 75-2019
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 24, 1977
    ...O'Malley v. Brierley, 3 Cir. 1973, 477 F.2d 785; Brown v. Board of Trustees of LaGrange Independent School Dist., 5 Cir. 1951, 187 F.2d 20. 5 O'Sullivan v. Felix, 1914, 233 U.S. 318, 34 S.Ct. 596, 58 L.Ed. 980; Shaw v. McCorkle, 5 Cir. 1976, 537 F.2d 1289. See Note, A Limitation on Action f......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • Javits v. Stevens, No. 73 Civ. 5339-LFM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 24, 1974
    ...Cir.), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 929, 85 S.Ct. 324, 13 L.Ed.2d 341 (1964); Brown v. Board of Trustees of La Grange Independent School Dist., 187 F.2d 20 (5th Cir. 1951); Mosher v. Beirne, 237 F.Supp. 684 (E.D.Mo. 1964), aff'd, 357 F.2d 638 (8th Cir. 1966). See also, Denman v. Wertz, 372 F.2d 1......
  • Romero v. Weakley, No. 1712-SD
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • May 5, 1955
    ...v. Rodgers, 284 U.S. 521, at page 530, 52 S.Ct. 217, 76 L.Ed. 447. Cf. Brown v. Board of Trustees of La Grange Ind. School Dist., 5 Cir., 187 F.2d 20 — and would pend only on behalf of those joined as plaintiffs under Rule 20, Federal Rules of Civil The Motion of the plaintiffs to amend the......
  • Tinsley v. Palo Alto Unified School Dist.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 13, 1979
    ...Co. (1914) 235 U.S. 151, 164, 35 S.Ct. 69, 72, 59 L.Ed. 169, 175; Brown v. Board of Trustees of La Grange Ind. Sch. Dist. (5th Cir. 1951) 187 F.2d 20, 25; and Tyree v. Smith (E.D.Tenn.N.D.1968) 289 F.Supp. 174, 175. Cf. Smith v. Wickline (W.D.Okl.1975) 396 F.Supp. 555, 557.) [91 Cal.App.3d ......
  • Shaw v. Garrison, No. 75-2019
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 24, 1977
    ...O'Malley v. Brierley, 3 Cir. 1973, 477 F.2d 785; Brown v. Board of Trustees of LaGrange Independent School Dist., 5 Cir. 1951, 187 F.2d 20. 5 O'Sullivan v. Felix, 1914, 233 U.S. 318, 34 S.Ct. 596, 58 L.Ed. 980; Shaw v. McCorkle, 5 Cir. 1976, 537 F.2d 1289. See Note, A Limitation on Action f......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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