Cooper v. Aaron Case Brief

Summary of Cooper v. Aaron (1958)

Relevant Facts: The state of Arkansas refused to be legally bound by the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown. The Little Rock School Board had continued to implement a plan in which the segregation of students in these schools existed.

Issue: Under constitutional law, were Arkansas officials bound by the Court’s prior decision in Brown, or instead were they entitled to resist a Supreme Court order to desegregate schools?

Holding: Yes, Arkansas officials were bound by the Brown decision, and were forced to desist from their attempts at stalling the desegregation process.

Court’s Rationale/Reasoning: “No state legislator of executive of judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his undertaking to support it.” Such a judicial decision has a binding effect on the states; the court reaffirmed its opinion regarding desegregation, reiterating legislatures are not at liberty to pick and choose which judgments of the Court to follow. Judicial officers take an oath to such a thing in article VI, clause 3, to “support this Constitution.

Rule: None may nullify a judicial ruling based on constitutional law.

Important Dicta: Article VI of the Constitution makes it the “supreme law of the land.”

Dissenting: N/A.

Concurring: N/A.



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