Karr v. Schmidt

Decision Date11 February 1971
Citation91 S.Ct. 592,401 U.S. 1201,27 L.Ed.2d 797
PartiesChesley KARR, a minor, individually, and John R. Karr, Individually and as next friend and Guardian ad litem on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, v. Clifford SCHMIDT, Principal of Coronado High School, et al. No. ____
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr. Justice BLACK, Circuit Justice.

This 'Emergency Motion to Vacate a Stay of Injunction Pending Appeal' has been presented to me as the Supreme Court Justice assigned to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The motion concerns rules adopted by the school authorities of El Paso, Texas, providing that schoolboys' hair must not 'hang over the ears or the top of the collar of a standard dress shirt and must not obstruct vision.' The rules also provide that boys will not be admitted to or allowed to remain in school unless their hair meets this standard. The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, El Paso Division, held after hearings that this local student hair length rule violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and enjoined its enforcement, declining to suspend its injunction pending appeal. On motion of the school authorities, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stayed and suspended the District Court's injunction and the student appellees have asked me to vacate the Court of Appeals' stay of the injunction. Should I vacate the stay the El Paso school authorities would remain subject to the District Court's injunction and would thereby be forbidden to enforce their local rule requiring public school students not to wear hair hanging over their collars or obstructing their vision.

I refuse to hold for myself that the federal courts have constitutional power to interfere in this way with the public school system operated by the States. And I furthermore refuse to predict that our Court will hold they have such power. It is true that we have held that this Court does have power under the Fourteenth Amendment to bar state public schools from discriminating against Negro students on account of their race but we did so by virtue of a direct, positive command in the Fourteenth Amendment, which, like the other Civil War Amendments, was primarily designed to outlaw racial discrimination by the States. There is no such direct, positive command about local school rules with reference to the length of hair state school students must have. And I cannot...

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41 cases
  • Rumler v. BOARD OF SCH. TR. FOR LEXINGTON CTY. DIST. NO. 1 SCHOOLS
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • 17 Mayo 1971
    ...questions involved. This is difficult in the light of the admonitions of Mr. Justice Black in Karr v. Schmidt, Principal of Coronado High School, 401 U.S. 1201, 91 S.Ct. 592, 27 L.Ed.2d 797, published February 11, 1971, by the Supreme Court of the United I refuse to hold for myself that the......
  • Stull v. School Board of Western Beaver Jr.-Sr. HS
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • 13 Abril 1972
    ...is the threshold question whether the federal courts even have the power to adjudicate the issue. See, e. g., Karr v. Schmidt, 401 U.S. 1201, 91 S.Ct. 592, 27 L.Ed.2d 797 (1971), opinion of Justice Black; Freeman v. Flake, 448 F.2d 258 (10th Cir. 1971); Zeller v. Donegal School District, 33......
  • Surowitz v. NEW YORK CITY EMPLOYEES'RETIREMENT SYSTEM
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • 9 Mayo 1974
    ...Nation than to leave the States unhampered in the performance of their purely local affairs. Karr v. Schmidt, 401 U.S. 1201, 1203, 91 S.Ct. 592, 593, 27 L.Ed.2d 797 (1971) (Black, J., in chambers). A recent extra-judicial expression of Chief Justice Burger is in accord: As to the future I c......
  • Fagan v. National Cash Register Company
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • 29 Junio 1973
    ...and equal protection clauses, its judgment was stayed and Justice Black refused to vacate the stay. His memorandum, 401 U.S. 1201, 1202, 91 S.Ct. 592, 27 L.Ed.2d 797 (1971), reflected his view that the federal courts have no constitutional power to interfere with regulations promulgated by ......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Enforcement of Law Schools' Non-academic Honor Codes: a Necessary Step Towards Professionalism?
    • United States
    • University of Nebraska - Lincoln Nebraska Law Review No. 89, 2021
    • Invalid date
    ...the denial of petition for writ of certiorari and reiterating his beliefs set forth in Olff, 404 U.S. at 1042). 210. Karr v. Schmidt, 401 U.S. 1201 (1971) (Black, Circuit Justice) (denying motion for stay of 211. Id. at 1203. 212. See, e.g., New Rider v. Bd. of Educ. 480 F.2d 693 (10th Cir.......

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