Bolling v. Sharpe Case Brief

Summary of Bolling v. Sharpe (1954)

Relevant Facts: Black children were denied admission to public school where exclusively white students attended.

Issue: Under constitutional law, does the denial of black children the right to attend an all-white school violate the 5th amendment?

Holding: Yes. The 5th amendment protects life, liberty and the pursuit of all happiness, not just physical, but intellectual freedoms as well.

Court’s Rationale/Reasoning: The court used the 5th amendment here to get around the fact the 14th amendment does not protect those citizens of Washington, D.C. Since the 5th amendment has a due process clause as well, the court found there to be equal reason to provide for protections under the decision of Brown for D.C. The key term used was “liberty,” which was held by the court to be more than merely bodily freedom, it also means a freedom to learn, as well as all the other freedoms granted by the constitution, as long as they do not violate government standards.

Rule: The 5th amendment protects the freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in education, as well as all facets which the government controls and protects under its laws.

Important Dicta: N/A.

Dissenting: N/A.

Concurring: N/A.



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