Cooper v. Aaron Case Brief

Facts of the Case

School authorities asked a district court to postpone their program for desegregation mandated by the Brown v. Board of Education decision because of great difficulties in implementing the program. School authorities claimed that while they made good faith efforts to implement the desegregation program, the Governor and Legislature of Arkansas resisted the program and enacted laws and took other actions to make implementation impossible. The district court granted the requested relief but on appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed. The case was elevated to the Supreme Court of the United States on certiorari.




“In a signed, unanimous per curiam opinion, the Court held that the Arkansas officials were bound by federal court orders that rested on the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education . While the Court noted that the school board had acted in good faith, that most of the problems stemmed from the official opposition of the Arkansas state government to racial integration in both word and deed, it was constitutionally impermissible under the Equal Protection Clause to maintain law and order by depriving the black students of their equal rights under the law.More importantly, the Court held that since the Supremacy Clause of Article VI made the U.S. Constitution the supreme law of the land, and Marbury v. Madison made the Supreme Court the final interpreter of the Constitution, the precedent set forth in Brown v. Board of Education was the supreme law of the land and was therefore binding on all the states, regardless of any state laws contradicting it. The Court therefore rejected the contention that the Arkansas legislature and Governor were not bound by the Brown decision.Justice Frankfurter wrote a concurring opinion.”

Case Information

Citation: 358 US 1 (1958)
Argued: Aug 29, 1958