« AnteriorContinuar »
those of any other citizen who suffers violence at the hands of a mob.
We do not say that no conspiracy by private individuals could be of such magnitude and effect as to work a deprivation of equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under laws. Indeed, the postCivil War Ku Klux Klan, against which this Act was fashioned, may have, or may reasonably have been thought to have, done so. It is estimated to have had a membership of around 550,000, and thus to have included "nearly the entire adult male white population of the South." 15 It may well be that a conspiracy, so far-flung and embracing such numbers, with a purpose to dominate and set at naught the "carpetbag" and "scalawag" governments of the day, was able effectively to deprive Negroes of their legal rights and to close all avenues of redress or vindication, in view of the then disparity of position, education and opportunity between them and those who made up the Ku Klux Klan. We do not know. But here nothing of that sort appears. We have a case of a lawless political brawl, precipitated by a handful of white citizens against other white citizens. California courts are open to plaintiffs and its laws offer redress for their injury and vindication for their rights.
We say nothing of the power of Congress to authorize such civil actions as respondents have commenced or otherwise to redress such grievances as they assert. We think that Congress has not, in the narrow class of conspiracies defined by this statute, included the conspiracy charged here. We therefore reach no constitutional questions. The facts alleged fall short of a conspiracy to alter, impair or deny equality of rights under the law, though they do show a lawless invasion of rights for which 15 8 Encyc. Soc. Sci. 606, 607.
there are remedies in the law of California. It is not for this Court to compete with Congress or attempt to replace it as the Nation's law-making body.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals is
MR. JUSTICE BURTON, with whom MR. JUSTICE BLACK and MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS Concur, dissenting.
I cannot agree that the respondents in their complaint have failed to state a cause of action under R. S. § 1980 (3), 8 U. S. C. § 47 (3).
The right alleged to have been violated is the right to petition the Federal Government for a redress of grievances. This right is expressly recognized by the First Amendment and this Court has said that "The very idea of a government, republican in form, implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs and to petition for a redress of grievances." United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 552, and see In re Quarles and Butler, 158 U. S. 532, 535. The source of the right in this case is not the Fourteenth Amendment. The complaint alleges that petitioners "knowingly" did not interfere with the "many public meetings" whose objectives they agreed with, but that they did conspire to break up respondents' meeting because petitioners were opposed to respondents' views, which were expected to be there expressed. Such conduct does not differ materially from the specific conspiracies which the Court recognizes that the statute was intended to reach.
The language of the statute refutes the suggestion that action under color of state law is a necessary ingredient of the cause of action which it recognizes. R. S. § 1980 (3) speaks of "two or more persons in any State or Territory" conspiring. That clause is not limited to state
officials. Still more obviously, where the section speaks of persons going "in disguise on the highway... for the purpose of depriving . . . any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws," it certainly does not limit its reference to actions of that kind by state officials. When Congress, at this period, did intend to limit comparable civil rights legislation to action under color of state law, it said so in unmistakable terms. In fact, R. S. § 1980 (3) originally was § 2 of the Act of April 20, 1871, and § 1 of that same Act said "That any person who, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of any State, shall subject. any person within the jurisdiction of the United States to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution of the United States, shall . be liable to the party injured (Emphasis added.) 17 Stat. 13.
Congress certainly has the power to create a federal cause of action in favor of persons injured by private individuals through the abridgment of federally created constitutional rights. It seems to me that Congress has done just this in R. S. § 1980 (3). This is not inconsistent with the principle underlying the Fourteenth Amendment. That amendment prohibits the respective states from making laws abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States or denying to any person within the jurisdiction of a state the equal protection of the laws. Cases holding that those clauses are directed only at state action are not authority for the contention that Congress may not pass laws supporting rights which exist apart from the Fourteenth Amendment.
Accordingly, I would affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
BROWN ET AL. v. BOARD OF EDUCATION
(349 U.S. 294 (1954))
NO 1. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS.
Reargued on the question of relief April 11-14, 1955.-Opinion and judgments announced May 31, 1955.
1. Racial discrimination in public education is unconstitutional, 347 U. S. 483, 497, and all provisions of federal, state or local law requiring or permitting such discrimination must yield to this principle. P. 298.
2. The judgments below (except that in the Delaware case) are reversed and the cases are remanded to the District Courts to take such proceedings and enter such orders and decrees consistent with this opinion as are necessary and proper to admit the parties to these cases to public schools on a racially nondiscriminatory basis with all deliberate speed. P. 301.
(a) School authorities have the primary responsibility for elucidating, assessing and solving the varied local school problems which may require solution in fully implementing the governing constitutional principles. P. 299.
(b) Courts will have to consider whether the action of school authorities constitutes good faith implementation of the governing constitutional principles. P. 299.
(c) Because of their proximity to local conditions and the possible need for further hearings, the courts which originally heard these cases can best perform this judicial appraisal. P. 299.
(d) In fashioning and effectuating the decrees, the courts will be guided by equitable principles-characterized by a practical flexibility in shaping remedies and a facility for adjusting and reconciling public and private needs. P.300.
*Together with No. 2, Briggs et al. v. Elliott et al., on appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina; No. 3, Davis et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, et al., on appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; No. 4, Bolling et al. v. Sharpe et al., on certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; and No. 5, Gebhart et al. v. Belton et al., on certiorari to the Supreme Court of Delaware.
(e) At stake is the personal interest of the plaintiffs in admission to public schools as soon as practicable on a nondiscriminatory basis. P. 300.
(f) Corts of equity may properly take into account the public interest in the elimination in a systematic and effective manner of a variety of obstacles in making the transition to school systems operated in accordance with the constitutional principles enunciated in 347 U. S. 483, 497; but the vitality of these constitutional principles cannot be allowed to yield simply because of disagreement with them. P. 300.
(g) While giving weight to these public and private considerations, the courts will require that the defendants make a prompt and reasonable start toward full compliance with the ruling of this Court. P. 300.
(h) Once such a start has been made, the courts may find that additional time is necessary to carry out the ruling in an effective manner. P. 300.
(i) The burden rests on the defendants to establish that additional time is necessary in the public interest and is consistent with good faith compliance at the earliest practicable date. P. 300.
(j) The courts may consider problems related to administration, arising from the physical condition of the school plant, the school transportation system, personnel, revision of school districts and attendance areas into compact units to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis, and revision of local laws and regulations which may be necessary in solving the foregoing problems. Pp. 300-301.
(k) The courts will also consider the adequacy of any plans the defendants may propose to meet these problems and to effectuate a transition to a racially nondiscriminatory school system. P. 301.
(1) During the period of transition, the courts will retain jurisdiction of these cases. P. 301.
3. The judgment in the Delaware case, ordering the immediate admission of the plaintiffs to schools previously attended only by white children, is affirmed on the basis of the principles stated by this Court in its opinion, 347 U. S. 483; but the case is remanded to the Supreme Court of Delaware for such further proceedings as that Court may deem necessary in the light of this opinion. P. 301. 98 F. Supp. 797, 103 F. Supp. 920, 103 F. Supp. 337 and judgment in No. 4, reversed and remanded.
91 A. 2d 137, affirmed and remanded.