Pearson v. Murray, No. 53.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtBOND, Chief Judge.
Citation182 A. 590
Decision Date15 January 1936
Docket NumberNo. 53.
PartiesPEARSON et al. v. MURRAY.
182 A. 590

PEARSON et al.
v.
MURRAY.

No. 53.

Court of Appeals of Maryland.

Jan. 15, 1936.


182 A. 590

Appeal from Baltimore City Court; Eugene O'Dunne, Judge.

Mandamus by Donald G. Murray to compel Raymond A. Pearson and others, officers and members of the Board of Regents of the University of Maryland, to admit petitioner as a student in the law school of the university. From an order directing issuance of the writ, respondents appeal.

Order affirmed.

Argued before BOND, C. J, and URNER, OFFUTT, PARKE, SLOAN, MITCHELL, SHEHAN, and JOHNSON, JJ.

Charles T. LeViness, 3d, and Wm. L. Henderson, Asst. Attys. Gen. (Herbert R. O'Conor, Atty. Gen., on the brief), for appellants.

Thurgood Marshall, of Baltimore, and Charles H. Houston, of Washington, D. C. (William I. Gosnell, of Baltimore, on the brief), for appellee.

BOND, Chief Judge.

The officers and governing board of the University of Maryland appeal from an order for the issue of the writ of mandamus commanding them to admit a young negro, the appellee, as a student in the law school of the university. The appellee and petitioner, Murray, graduated as a bachelor of arts from Amherst College in 1934, and met the standards for admission to the law school in all other respects, but was denied admission on the sole ground of his color. He is twenty-two years of age, and is now, and has been during all his life, a resident of Baltimore City, where the law school is situated. He contests his exclusion as unauthorized by the laws of the state, or, so far as it might be considered authorized, then as a denial of equal rights because of his color, contrary to the requirement of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The appellants reply, first, that by reason of its

182 A. 591

character and organization the law school is not a governmental agency, required by the amendment to give equal rights to students of both races. Or, if it is held that it is a state agency, it is replied that the admission of negro students is not required because the amendment permits segregation of the races for education, and it is the declared policy and the practice of the state to segregate them in schools, and that although the law school of the university is maintained for white students only, and there is no separate law school maintained for colored students, equal treatment has at the same time been accorded the negroes by statutory provisions for scholarships or aids to enable them to attend law schools outside the state. A further argument in defense is that if equal treatment has not been provided, the remedy must be found in the opening of a school for negroes, and not in their admission to this particular school attended by the whites.

The University of Maryland Law School was a private institution until the year 1920, when by statute, Acts 1920, c. 480, it was consolidated with the Maryland State College of Agriculture, then an institution of the state government. Regents of University of Maryland v. Williams, 9 Gill & J. 365, 31 Am. Dec. 72; Appeal Tax Court v. Regents of University of Maryland, 50 Md. 457. The agricultural college, during most of its career since the middle of the last century, had been a private institution, but later in that century, and during the early part of the present one, it was supported entirely from state funds, and the state owned an undivided half of its property, and after 1902 held a mortgage on the other half. A legislative enactment for the foreclosure of the mortgage of the college, "so that it become entirely a State institution," was passed in 1914 (chapter 128), and an Act of 1916 (chapter 372) provided a new corporation, to be known as the Maryland State College of Agriculture, to take the college over. All former property and powers were bestowed on the new corporation, and in accordance with the governmental character of it, the trustees were thenceforth to be appointed by the Governor of the State, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, powers were given and duties were prescribed by the act for them and their officers, and they were required to make to the General Assembly at each session a report of the condition of the college and the property, and of their receipts and expenditures. The Attorney General of the state was designated as their adviser and attorney. That the corporation thus created is an instrumentality or agency of the state is plain, and we do not understand it to be disputed. "When the corporation is said, at the bar, to be public, it is not merely meant, that the whole community may be the proper objects of the bounty, but that the government have the sole right, as trustees of the public interests, to regulate, control and direct the corporation, and its funds and its franchises, at its own good will and pleasure." Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 518, 671, 4 L. Ed. 629; Regents of University of Maryland v. Williams, 9 Gill & J. 365, 397, 31 Am. Dec. 72; Finan v. Cumberland, 154 Md. 563, 564, 141 A. 269.

The consolidating act of 1920, chapter 480, made the University of Maryland with its law school, and the College of Agriculture, one corporation, which under the name of the University of Maryland was to be governed by the board of trustees provided for the College of Agriculture by the act of 1916. "The government of the University of Maryland, after said consolidation shall become effective, as hereinafter provided, shall be vested in the Board of Trustees provided for by Section 2 of said Act of 1916, Chapter 372, which Board shall thereafter be known as the Regents of the University of Maryland." Acts 1920, c. 480. It was further provided, however, that the board might, until they thought it expedient to order otherwise, permit any of the previously existing faculties of the University of Maryland to govern themselves in whole or in part, to appoint teachers, and provide for their compensation, and for the expenses of the department, out of any available funds, including the tuition fees from students.

The consolidation was completed. And from the fact of consolidation with a state agency, under one and the same board of trustees appointed and controlled by the state, it would seem to follow inevitably that the law school maintained is a state agency, or part of one. The one corporation could not be both a public and a private one. It is argued that the school is "in the nature of a private corporation" because it receives the greater part of its support from the students' tuition fees, and therefore its freedom of selection and accommodation of students is not subject to the restriction by the Fourteenth Amendment. But a distinction

182 A. 592

between agencies which do and those which do not collect fees from individual users of their facilities would not support a distinction between private and public character. It is common practice for unquestionably public corporations to collect pay. Hospitals, and the various municipal corporations or agencies which make charges for utilities supplied, often with a margin of profit over expenses, remain none the less public in character. 1...

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37 practice notes
  • NATIONAL ASS'N FOR ADVANCE. OF COLORED PEOPLE v. Patty, Civ. A. No. 2435
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • January 21, 1958
    ...61 S.Ct. 75, 85 L.Ed. 448, dealing with discriminatory fixing of school teachers' salaries; University of Maryland v. Murray, 169 Md. 478, 182 A. 590, 103 A.L.R. 706, and Kerr v. Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore City, 4 Cir., 149 F.2d 212, certiorari denied 326 U.S. 721, 66 S.Ct. 26, 9......
  • Mills v. Lowndes, No. 56.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • March 1, 1939
    ...cases involving the admission of Negro law students to state conducted law schools. In University of Maryland v. Murray, 169 Md. 478, 182 A. 590, it was said for the Court of Appeals of Maryland by Chief Judge Bond, at page 483, 182 A. at page 592: "As a result of the adoption of the Fourte......
  • Bd. of Educ. of Baltimore County v. Wheat, No. 58.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • May 20, 1938
    ...Acts 1937, pp. 1140, 1217-1222. and appropriation acts of preceding assemblies; See University of Maryland v. Murray, 169 Md. 478, 484-487, 182 A. 590; Dunn v. Addison Manual Training School, 281 Ill. 352. 117 N.E. 993; Trost v. Ketteler Manual Training School, 282 Ill. 504, 118 N.E. 743; S......
  • Murray v. Curlett, No. 90
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • April 6, 1962
    ...a constitutional question preliminary to the grant or refusal of a writ of mandamus. See, for example, University v. Murray, 169 Md. 478, 182 A. 590, 103 A.L.R. 706 (1936); Williams v. Zimmerman, 172 Md. 563, 192 A. 353 (1937); Torcaso v. Watkins, 223 Md. 49, 162 A.2d 438 (1960), reversed (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
37 cases
  • NATIONAL ASS'N FOR ADVANCE. OF COLORED PEOPLE v. Patty, Civ. A. No. 2435
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • January 21, 1958
    ...61 S.Ct. 75, 85 L.Ed. 448, dealing with discriminatory fixing of school teachers' salaries; University of Maryland v. Murray, 169 Md. 478, 182 A. 590, 103 A.L.R. 706, and Kerr v. Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore City, 4 Cir., 149 F.2d 212, certiorari denied 326 U.S. 721, 66 S.Ct. 26, 9......
  • Mills v. Lowndes, No. 56.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • March 1, 1939
    ...cases involving the admission of Negro law students to state conducted law schools. In University of Maryland v. Murray, 169 Md. 478, 182 A. 590, it was said for the Court of Appeals of Maryland by Chief Judge Bond, at page 483, 182 A. at page 592: "As a result of the adoption of the Fourte......
  • Bd. of Educ. of Baltimore County v. Wheat, No. 58.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • May 20, 1938
    ...Acts 1937, pp. 1140, 1217-1222. and appropriation acts of preceding assemblies; See University of Maryland v. Murray, 169 Md. 478, 484-487, 182 A. 590; Dunn v. Addison Manual Training School, 281 Ill. 352. 117 N.E. 993; Trost v. Ketteler Manual Training School, 282 Ill. 504, 118 N.E. 743; S......
  • Murray v. Curlett, No. 90
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • April 6, 1962
    ...a constitutional question preliminary to the grant or refusal of a writ of mandamus. See, for example, University v. Murray, 169 Md. 478, 182 A. 590, 103 A.L.R. 706 (1936); Williams v. Zimmerman, 172 Md. 563, 192 A. 353 (1937); Torcaso v. Watkins, 223 Md. 49, 162 A.2d 438 (1960), reversed (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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