United States v. State of Texas, Civ. A. No. 5281.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
Writing for the CourtJUSTICE
Citation330 F. Supp. 235
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 5281.
Decision Date11 May 1971
PartiesUNITED STATES of America v. STATE OF TEXAS et al.

330 F. Supp. 235

UNITED STATES of America
v.
STATE OF TEXAS et al.

Civ. A. No. 5281.

United States District Court, E. D. Texas, Tyler Division.

May 11, 1971.


330 F. Supp. 236

Roby Hadden, U. S. Atty., Tyler, Tex., Alexandra Polyzoides, Atty., Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D. C., for plaintiff.

Crawford C. Martin, Atty. Gen., James C. McCoy and Pat Bailey, Asst. Attys. Gen., Austin, Tex., Henry Harbour, Longview, Tex., Harold Nix, Daingerfield, Tex., Hugh D. Reed, Jr., Fairfield, Tex., J. B. Sallas, Crockett, Tex., Eugene M. McElyea, Bryan, Tex., for defendants.

SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM OPINION

JUSTICE, District Judge.

A Memorandum Opinion in this case was issued on December 4, 1970, 321 F. Supp. 1043, and dealt primarily with the legal basis for this Court's action in its

330 F. Supp. 237
Order of November 24, 1970.1 Among other things, that Order directed the
Defendant school districts, their superintendents, the county boards of education, and county superintendents to collaborate with the defendant Texas Education Agency and the Office of Education of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the preparation of desegregation plans which shall insure that no child will be effectively denied equal educational opportunities on account of race, color or national origin. * * *

In addition, the Texas Education Agency (hereinafter sometimes referred to as TEA), its officers and others were directed to

Re-evaluate all of their activities and practices relating to the desegregation of public elementary and secondary education within the state of Texas * * and to file with this court a plan stating specific action which the defendant State Agency may take pursuant to its affirmative obligations under Title VI and the Fourteenth Amendment to (inter alia)
(1) Change or modify present administrative practices or policies * * * (and)
(2) Employ * * * sanctions * * * to enforce federal constitutional and statutory standards * *.

The defendants complied with these directives, and numerous plans and proposals were submitted to this Court for the desegregation of the three school districts still remaining in existence as all-black administrative units at the time of the issuance of the November 24, 1970, Order. Brief status reports were also filed concerning the six other all-black districts involved in this case which had been annexed to adjacent school districts during the pendency of the proceedings. In addition, the Texas Education Agency submitted a plan regarding its future actions to eliminate from public elementary and secondary education in Texas all vestiges of segregation based on race, color, or national origin. The United States filed an extensive response to this plan.

It then remained for the Court to issue a decree to desegregate the nine all-black school districts and to order into effect a plan under which the State of Texas, through its appropriate education agencies at the state, county and local levels, will be required to fulfill its concurrent responsibility with that of the Federal government to eliminate the dual school system and to assure that no child in the State is effectively excluded from any school on the ground of race, color, or national origin. Green v. County School Board of New Kent County, 391 U.S. 430, 88 S.Ct. 1689, 20 L.Ed.2d 716 (1968); Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, 396 U.S. 19, 90 S.Ct. 29, 24 L.Ed.2d 19 (1969); and Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1, 91 S.Ct. 1267, 28 L. Ed.2d 554 (1971).

The Court has chosen to issue two orders at this time, the first directed at the desegregation of the various all-black school district, and the second concerning the future actions of the State and its educational agencies. This Opinion is intended to clarify both of these Orders and to explain to some extent the Court's reasoning on a number of difficult issues which arose in the course of its consideration of the case.

I.

The Court will first address itself to the Order of April 19, 1971, dealing with the desegregation of the all-black school districts. As indicated in the Conclusions of Law and the Order of November 24, 1970, and in the December 4, 1970, Opinion, this Court believes that:

Separate neighboring or overlapping school districts, one black and the other white, are unconstitutional when created and maintained to perpetuate
330 F. Supp. 238
a dual school system, and such districts require consolidation with nearby units so as to assure their students equal educational opportunities. Haney v. County Board of Education of Sevier County, Arkansas, 410 F.2d 920 (8th Cir. 1969); United States v. Bright Star School District # 6, No. T-69-C-24 (W.D.Ark. April 15, 1970); Turner v. Warren County Board of Education, 313 F.Supp. 380 (E.D.N.C.1970), affirmed sub nom. Turner v. Littleton-Lake Gaston School District, 442 F.2d 584 (4th Cir. March 23, 1971).

The Court further believes that:

Actions of the State or any of its agencies or officials resulting in the creation, operation, support and general supervision of small school districts whose school facilities are attended exclusively or almost exclusively by members of one race and whose existence cannot be rationalized upon sound educational grounds are unconstitutional in that they result in the denial to students of equal educational opportunities. Turner v. Warren County Board of Education, supra.

Accordingly, the Court has determined that the law requires that each of the all-black school districts involved in this case be annexed to or consolidated with a nearby unit with bi-racial enrollment in order to achieve meaningful desegregation and to create, at the same time, a stable, administratively and educationally sound school district.

Little explanation is needed concerning the portion of the Order requiring the appropriate county boards of education to annex the Butler and Cason Independent School Districts to the Fairfield and Daingerfield Independent School Districts respectively. The county boards of education are empowered to take such action under Texas law, Texas Education Code (1969) Section 19.001, V.T.C.A. Moreover, in light of the record showing, among other things, the proximity of the two districts involved in each instance, as well as the previous actions involving territorial gerrymanders and student transfers which contributed to the creation and perpetuation of Butler and Cason as all-black districts, these orders of annexation seem amply justified. Moreover, the United States Office of Education and the State, through the Texas Education Agency, concur in the recommendation that these annexations constitute virtually the only solutions to the problem of eliminating Butler and Cason as segregated school districts.

Because of the location of the all-black St. Paul-Shiloh Common School District and the high percentage of minority students residing in the adjacent districts within or partly within Leon County, the elimination of St. Paul-Shiloh as an all-black entity presented more difficulties than did the elimination of Butler and Cason. The inherent complexity of this situation was further reinforced by the fact that the Office of Education filed numerous proposals with the Court designed to desegregate St. Paul-Shiloh, all of which would have eliminated the district and hence have achieved some desegregation. The Court's task, therefore, was to determine the solution which would, in the words of the Supreme Court, "achieve the greatest amount of actual desegregation," Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, supra, and which would, thereby, insure the provision of equal educational opportunities to all of the children in the area as required by the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See first Opinion issued in this case, 321 F.Supp. 1043 (E.D.Tex.1970).

In addition, the Court believed that if a proper solution to the elimination of the all-black districts could be found consistent with State law, such a solution should be given preference to one requiring a Federal Court to override state law, provided no substantial reduction of desegregation would result. Accordingly, in attemping to reach an equitable solution to the elimination of St. Paul-Shiloh as an all-black district, the Court determined to seek the "greatest amount of actual desegregation," if possible,

330 F. Supp. 239
within the limits of State law, but in no event to create a school district which was more than 66% black

In this connection, the Court, in line with its initial Order in this case dated November 24, 1970, believes that a district which is created and maintained with a 66% or higher minority group student body must be considered a minority school district, and that the existence of such a unit creates a strong presumption that the educational opportunities provided to these minority students are inherently unequal to the offerings of nearby districts whose student bodies are more racially or ethnically mixed. Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686, 98 L.Ed. 873 (1954) (Brown I); Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U.S. 294, 75 S.Ct. 753, 99 L.Ed. 1083 (1955) (Brown II); Haney v. County Board of Education of Sevier County, supra; Turner v. Warren, supra. The same premise might reasonably be applied in defining a segregated, minority school or school bus, although the presumption of unlawful action may lessen somewhat in the latter case, particularly in districts which are transporting students in accordance with Federally approved desegregation plans. Moreover, where state action or inaction of any kind may be shown to have contributed to the creation, operation or perpetuation of a racially isolated district as described above, it may be said that the district is part of an unconstitutional structure based on the provision of separate education for minority children. Griffin v. State Board of Education, ...

To continue reading

Request your trial
32 practice notes
  • United States v. State, No. 17-13595
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • September 17, 2019
    ...aff’d , 600 F.2d 1258 (9th Cir. 1979) ; United States v. Texas , 321 F. Supp. 1043, 1057–58 & n.18 (E.D. Tex. 1970), supplemented by 330 F. Supp. 235 (E.D. Tex. 1971), aff’d by 447 F.2d 441 (5th Cir. 1971) ; United States v. Tatum Indep. Sch. Dist. , 306 F. Supp. 285, 288 (E.D. Tex. 1969) ;......
  • United States v. State of Tex., Civ. A. No. 5281.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • January 12, 1981
    ...was entered mandating that TEA implement a comprehensive enforcement plan, which was set forth in conjunction with the order. D.C., 330 F.Supp. 235 (1971). With minor modifications, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit subsequently affirmed the November 24, 1970, order. 447 F.2d 441 (......
  • U.S. v. LULAC, No. 85-2579
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 2, 1986
    ...on the merits. --------------- 1 United States v. State of Texas, 321 F.Supp. 1043 (E.D.Tex.1970), and United States v. State of Texas, 330 F.Supp. 235 (E.D.Tex.1971), modified & aff'd, 447 F.2d 441 (5th Cir.1971), stay denied sub nom. United States v. Edgar, 404 U.S. 1206, 92 S.Ct. 8, 30 L......
  • Lau v. Nichols, No. 26155.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • June 18, 1973
    ...modified in part and remanded, 467 F.2d 142 (5th Cir. 1972); United States v. Texas, 321 F.Supp. 1043 (E.D.Tex.1970), supplemented by 330 F.Supp. 235, aff'd, 447 F. 2d 441 (5th Cir. 1971), application for stay denied sub nom. Edgar v. United States, 404 U.S. 1206, 92 S.Ct. 8, 30 L.Ed. 2d 10......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • United States v. State of Missouri, No. 71 C 555(1).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Missouri
    • August 27, 1973
    ...Education of Sevier County, Ark., 410 F.2d 920, 924 (8th Cir. 1969); United States v. State of Texas, 321 F.Supp. 1043 (E.D.Tex. 1970); 330 F.Supp. 235 (E.D.Tex.1971), modified and affirmed, 447 F.2d 441 (5th Cir. 1971), cert. denied, 404 U.S. 1016, 92 S.Ct. 675, 30 L.Ed.2d 663 5. Even abse......
  • NAACP v. Lansing Bd. of Ed., No. G305-72 C.A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • May 17, 1976
    ...aff'd sub nom. City of New Orleans v. Bush, 1961, 366 U.S. 212, 81 S.Ct. 1091, 6 L.Ed.2d 239; United States v. Texas, E.D.Texas 1971, 330 F.Supp. 235, Part II, aff'd as modified, United States v. Texas, 5 Cir. 1971, 447 F.2d 441. See Wright v. City of Brighton, Ala., 5 Cir. 1969, 441 F.2d 4......
  • Young v. Pierce, No. P-80-8-CA.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • July 1, 1982
    ...challenging a state-wide pattern of segregation. United States v. State of Texas, 321 F.Supp. 1043 (E.D.Tex.1970); supplemental opinion, 330 F.Supp. 235 (E.D.Tex. 1971), aff'd with modifications 447 F.2d 441 (5th Cir. 1971) stay denied sub nom. Edgar v. United States, 404 U.S. 1206, 92 S.Ct......
  • United States v. State, No. 17-13595
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • September 17, 2019
    ...aff’d , 600 F.2d 1258 (9th Cir. 1979) ; United States v. Texas , 321 F. Supp. 1043, 1057–58 & n.18 (E.D. Tex. 1970), supplemented by 330 F. Supp. 235 (E.D. Tex. 1971), aff’d by 447 F.2d 441 (5th Cir. 1971) ; United States v. Tatum Indep. Sch. Dist. , 306 F. Supp. 285, 288 (E.D. Tex. 196......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT