U.S. v. Charleston County School Dist., Nos. 90-1812

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore SPROUSE, Circuit Judge, and HILL; PER CURIAM; SPROUSE
Citation960 F.2d 1227
Parties74 Ed. Law Rep. 26 UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellant, and Richard Ganaway, II, a minor, by his father and next friend, Richard Ganaway; Renee Gasden, a minor, by her father and next friend, Raymond Gasden; Tarsha Lucas, a minor, by her mother and next friend, Catherine Williams; Stacy Brown, a minor; Rotissa Renee Brown, a minor; Uganda Brown, a minor by their mother and next friend, Louise Brown; Mitchelle Buggs, a minor; Charlton Ancrum, a minor, by their father and next friend, Henry Vernon; Bernard Simmons; a minor, by his mother and next friend, Idell Simmons; David Bonneau; Annette Bonneau, a minor; Sharon Bonneau, a minor, by their mother and next friend Lorraine Bonneau; Mona Lisa Lockhart, a minor; Dexter Smith, a minor; and Lichelle Lockhart, a minor, by their mother and next friend, Marthenia D. Lockhart; black school children attending Charleston County public school represented by their parents, Plaintiffs, v. CHARLESTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT; State of South Carolina; Charlie G. Williams, Superintendent, State Board of Education; Abraham Funchess; Joseph D. Parker; R.B. Gentry; T.C. Kistler; John R. Stevenson; Lucy B. Hayes; Creighton G. Edwards; Joyce Wimmer; Howard F. Burkey; Jack F. McIntosh; Robert E. Livingston; Jessie B. Schoolfield; W. Buford Estes; Louis O. Dore; Anne K. Collins; Wilbur F. Smith, Jr.; Dolphus Carter, as members of the State Board of Education; Richard W. Riley, Governor and Chairman; Thomas G. Mangum; Marion Gressette; Earl Morris; Grady Patterson, as members of the State Budget and Control Board, Defendants-Appellees. UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, and Richard Ganaway, II, a minor, by his father and next friend, Richard Ganaway; Renee Gasden, a minor, by her father and next friend, Raymond Gasden; Tarsha Lucas, a minor, by her mother and next friend, Catherine Williams; Stacy Brown, a minor; Rotissa Renee Brown, a minor; Uganda Brown, a minor by their mother and next friend, Louise Brown; Mitchelle Buggs, a m
Decision Date27 March 1992
Docket Number90-1816,Nos. 90-1812

Page 1227

960 F.2d 1227
74 Ed. Law Rep. 26
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellant,
and
Richard Ganaway, II, a minor, by his father and next friend,
Richard Ganaway; Renee Gasden, a minor, by her father and
next friend, Raymond Gasden; Tarsha Lucas, a minor, by her
mother and next friend, Catherine Williams; Stacy Brown, a
minor; Rotissa Renee Brown, a minor; Uganda Brown, a minor
by their mother and next friend, Louise Brown; Mitchelle
Buggs, a minor; Charlton Ancrum, a minor, by their father
and next friend, Henry Vernon; Bernard Simmons; a minor,
by his mother and next friend, Idell Simmons; David
Bonneau; Annette Bonneau, a minor; Sharon Bonneau, a
minor, by their mother and next friend Lorraine Bonneau;
Mona Lisa Lockhart, a minor; Dexter Smith, a minor; and
Lichelle Lockhart, a minor, by their mother and next friend,
Marthenia D. Lockhart; black school children attending
Charleston County public school represented by their
parents, Plaintiffs,
v.
CHARLESTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT; State of South Carolina;
Charlie G. Williams, Superintendent, State Board of
Education; Abraham Funchess; Joseph D. Parker; R.B.
Gentry; T.C. Kistler; John R. Stevenson; Lucy B. Hayes;
Creighton G. Edwards; Joyce Wimmer; Howard F. Burkey;
Jack F. McIntosh; Robert E. Livingston; Jessie B.
Schoolfield; W. Buford Estes; Louis O. Dore; Anne K.
Collins; Wilbur F. Smith, Jr.; Dolphus Carter, as members
of the State Board of Education; Richard W. Riley, Governor
and Chairman; Thomas G. Mangum; Marion Gressette; Earl
Morris; Grady Patterson, as members of the State Budget and
Control Board, Defendants-Appellees.
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
and
Richard Ganaway, II, a minor, by his father and next friend,
Richard Ganaway; Renee Gasden, a minor, by her father and
next friend, Raymond Gasden; Tarsha Lucas, a minor, by her
mother and next friend, Catherine Williams; Stacy Brown, a
minor; Rotissa Renee Brown, a minor; Uganda Brown, a minor
by their mother and next friend, Louise Brown; Mitchelle
Buggs, a minor; Charlton Ancrum, a minor, by their father
and next friend, Henry Vernon; Bernard Simmons; a minor,
by his mother and next friend, Idell Simmons; David
Bonneau; Annette Bonneau, a minor; Sharon Bonneau, a
minor, by their mother and next friend Lorraine Bonneau;
Mona Lisa Lockhart, a minor; Dexter Smith, a minor; and
Lichelle Lockhart, a minor, by their mother and next friend,
Marthenia D. Lockhart; black school children attending
Charleston County public school represented by their
parents, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
CHARLESTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT; State of South Carolina;
Charlie G. Williams, Superintendent, State Board of
Education; Abraham Funchess; Joseph D. Parker; R.B.
Gentry; T.C. Kistler; John R. Stevenson; Lucy B. Hayes;
Creighton G. Edwards; Joyce Wimmer; Howard F. Burkey;
Jack F. McIntosh; Robert E. Livingston; Jessie B.
Schoolfield; W. Buford Estes; Louis O. Dore; Anne K.
Collins; Wilbur F. Smith, Jr.; Dolphus Carter, as members
of the State Board of Education; Richard W. Riley, Governor
and Chairman; Thomas G. Mangum; Marion Gressette; Earl
Morris; Grady Patterson, as members of the State Budget and
Control Board, Defendants-Appellees.
Nos. 90-1812, 90-1816.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fourth Circuit.
Argued March 5, 1991.
Decided March 12, 1992.
As Amended March 27, 1992.

Page 1229

Irving Gornstein, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., Thomas J. Henderson, Lawyers' Committee for Civ. Rights Under Law, Washington, D.C., argued (John R. Dunne, Asst. Atty. Gen., Dennis J. Dimsey, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., Paul V. Holtzman, Lawyers' Committee for Civ. Rights Under Law, Washington, D.C., Arthur C. McFarland, Charleston, S.C., Julius Levonne, Chambers, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, New York City, on brief), for plaintiffs-appellants.

Alfred A. Lindseth, Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, Atlanta, Ga., argued (Robert N. Rosen, Alice F. Paylor, Rosen, Rosen & Hagood, Charleston, S.C., Charles W. Gambrell, Jr., Treva G. Ashworth, J. Emory Smith, Jr., Office of the Atty. Gen.,

Page 1230

Columbia, S.C., on brief), for defendants-appellees.

Before SPROUSE, Circuit Judge, and HILL, Senior Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, sitting by designation, and WARD, Senior United States District Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina, sitting by designation.

OPINION

PER CURIAM:

Appellants brought this action in the district court seeking a judgment requiring county wide school desegregation remedies in Charleston County, South Carolina. After extensive hearings, the district court, in a published opinion, United States v. Charleston County Sch. Dist., 738 F.Supp. 1513 (D.S.C.1990), made findings of fact and conclusions of law and entered judgment dismissing the case. With one exception, we AFFIRM what the district court has done. However, concluding that the district court failed to make findings with respect to one issue which should be resolved, we VACATE the judgment dismissing the case and REMAND for further proceedings.

INTRODUCTION

Charleston County stretches roughly 100 miles along the Atlantic coast, comprising approximately 938 square miles. Prior to 1951, twenty-one independent school districts operated within the county. The schools within these districts operated under a dual system, with black and white students each attending racially segregated schools. In 1951, four years before the United States Supreme Court decisions in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686, 98 L.Ed. 873 (1954) (Brown I ), and Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U.S. 294, 75 S.Ct. 753, 99 L.Ed. 1083 (1955) (Brown II ), ordered school boards operating dual school systems to "effectuate a transition to a racially non-discriminatory school system," Brown II, 349 U.S. at 301, 75 S.Ct. at 756, the South Carolina General Assembly consolidated the twenty-one districts into eight districts. These eight districts varied greatly in size and population. Their boundary lines all followed natural geographic patterns unique to Charleston County and all but two of the districts were separated from each other by bodies of water. The schools within these eight districts continued to operate on a dual system until well into the 1960s.

Until 1967, the eight districts existed as totally separate entities, with each district responsible for its own fiscal and administrative operations. In 1967, the South Carolina General Assembly enacted Act 340, 1967 S.C. Acts 340. Act 340 created the Charleston County School District (CCSD), which encompassed all of Charleston County. Most fiscal and administrative powers and responsibilities previously held by the eight school districts were absorbed by the CCSD. Most notably, the CCSD was empowered to distribute county tax revenues evenly among the eight districts in an effort to alleviate the unequal tax bases then existing among the districts. 1 The eight districts continued their existence and were labeled "constituent districts." Under Act 340, the constituent districts retained their independent boards of trustees and independent administrative authority over teacher and pupil assignments and student discipline. 2 For more than twenty years,

Page 1231

the CCSD and the eight constituent districts have operated under this system.

On January 9, 1981, the United States filed this action, alleging, basically, that the 1967 Act of the South Carolina General Assembly, under which the schools in Charleston County operate today, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The complaint specifically alleged: (1) that the public schools in Charleston County are "substantially segregated by race"; (2) that the racial segregation is the result of "intentionally discriminatory legislation and administrative actions" by the CCSD and State; and (3) that the part of the 1967 Act which enables the constituent districts to retain power over student and teacher assignment "were enacted with the purpose and have had the effect of discriminating against students in Charleston County schools on account of their race and segregating such schools by race."

More than seven years later, in September of 1988, the CCSD completed presenting its defense in the district court. In its findings and conclusions, the district court concluded that, (1) Act 340 as enacted by the South Carolina General assembly is constitutional; (2) the CCSD had fulfilled its affirmative duty under Brown I to dismantle dual school systems; and (3) the CCSD had properly interpreted Act 340 in carrying out its duty to desegregate. The district court also found that the schools within each constituent district are racially balanced.

It is from this ruling that appellants bring this appeal. Appellants claim error in the district court's conclusions that, (1) the eight constituent districts are valid and that the CCSD is not a single district; (2) that Act 340 as enacted is constitutional and prevents the CCSD from being required to implement system wide desegregation; and (3) that the CCSD has satisfied its affirmative constitutional obligation to eliminate dual schooling. No error is claimed in the district court's finding that the schools within each constituent district are racially balanced.

On review, we are bound to the district court's factual findings unless they are clearly erroneous. See Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 52(a); Vaughns v. Board of Educ., 758 F.2d 983 (4th Cir.1985). Because the district court literally lived with this school desegregation case for a number of years, its factual determinations are accorded a high level of acceptance. See Columbus Bd. of Educ. v. Penick, 443 U.S. 449, 457 n. 6, 99 S.Ct. 2941, 2947 n. 6, 61 L.Ed.2d 666 (1979); Riddick v. School Bd., 784 F.2d 521 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 938, 107 S.Ct. 420, 93 L.Ed.2d 370 (1986) (Factual findings by the district court in school desegregation case,...

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16 practice notes
  • Stanley v. Darlington County School District, Civ. No. 4:62-7749-22 (D. S.C. 3/1/1995), Civ. No. 4:62-7749-22.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 1, 1995
    ...unitary status. See School Bd. v. Baliles, 829 F.2d 1308 (4th Cir. 1987) (Virginia); United States v. Charleston County Sch. Dist., 960 F.2d 1227 (4th Cir. 1992) (South Carolina). In Baliles the court, based on its earlier 1972 ruling affirming state liability, found though that by 1987 the......
  • Stanley v. Darlington County School Dist., Civ. A. No. 4:62-7749-22.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 1, 1995
    ...unitary status. See School Bd. v. Baliles, 829 F.2d 1308 (4th Cir.1987) (Virginia); United States v. Charleston County Sch. Dist., 960 F.2d 1227 (4th Cir.1992) (South Carolina). In Baliles the court, based on its earlier 1972 ruling affirming state liability, found though that by 1987 the s......
  • Chris v. Tenet, No. Civ.A. 99-494-A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • July 28, 1999
    ...anticipated litigation over an ambiguity deliberately left in the statute. See United States v. Charleston County School District, 960 F.2d 1227, 1233 (4th Cir. 1992). In short, the statute itself is the best evidence of 24. Id. (quoting 110 Cong.Rec. 12724 (1964) (remarks of Senator Hubert......
  • Roy v. County of Lexington, South Carolina, Nos. 97-1731
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • April 14, 1998
    ...Chrysler Corp. v. Brown, 441 U.S. 281, 311, 99 S.Ct. 1705, 1722-23, 60 L.Ed.2d 208 (1979); United States v. Charleston County Sch. Dist., 960 F.2d 1227, 1233 (4th To date, no court has found 29 C.F.R. § 553.215(a) unauthorized by § 7(k) and refused Page 540 to enforce the regulation. 2 But ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Stanley v. Darlington County School District, Civ. No. 4:62-7749-22 (D. S.C. 3/1/1995), Civ. No. 4:62-7749-22.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 1, 1995
    ...unitary status. See School Bd. v. Baliles, 829 F.2d 1308 (4th Cir. 1987) (Virginia); United States v. Charleston County Sch. Dist., 960 F.2d 1227 (4th Cir. 1992) (South Carolina). In Baliles the court, based on its earlier 1972 ruling affirming state liability, found though that by 1987 the......
  • Stanley v. Darlington County School Dist., Civ. A. No. 4:62-7749-22.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • March 1, 1995
    ...unitary status. See School Bd. v. Baliles, 829 F.2d 1308 (4th Cir.1987) (Virginia); United States v. Charleston County Sch. Dist., 960 F.2d 1227 (4th Cir.1992) (South Carolina). In Baliles the court, based on its earlier 1972 ruling affirming state liability, found though that by 1987 the s......
  • Chris v. Tenet, No. Civ.A. 99-494-A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • July 28, 1999
    ...anticipated litigation over an ambiguity deliberately left in the statute. See United States v. Charleston County School District, 960 F.2d 1227, 1233 (4th Cir. 1992). In short, the statute itself is the best evidence of 24. Id. (quoting 110 Cong.Rec. 12724 (1964) (remarks of Senator Hubert......
  • Roy v. County of Lexington, South Carolina, Nos. 97-1731
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • April 14, 1998
    ...Chrysler Corp. v. Brown, 441 U.S. 281, 311, 99 S.Ct. 1705, 1722-23, 60 L.Ed.2d 208 (1979); United States v. Charleston County Sch. Dist., 960 F.2d 1227, 1233 (4th To date, no court has found 29 C.F.R. § 553.215(a) unauthorized by § 7(k) and refused Page 540 to enforce the regulation. 2 But ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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