Gilligan v. Morgan Case Brief

Facts of the Case

“After members of the Ohio National Guard had killed or injured several students at Kent State University, the plaintiffs, who were students at the University, brought suit in a Federal District Court in Ohio. The plaintiffs sought (1) an injunction restraining the Governor of Ohio from prematurely ordering the National Guard to duty in the future, (2) an injunction restraining leaders of the National Guard from violating the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights in the future, and (3) a declaratory judgment to the effect that an Ohio statute granting immunity to riot-suppression personnel was unconstitutional. The District Court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed with respect to the request for injunctive relief against the Governor’s use of the National Guard and with respect to the request for declaratory relief against the immunity statute, but the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case with directions that the District Court resolve the question whether there was and is a pattern of training, weaponry, and orders in the Ohio National Guard which singly or together require or make inevitable the use of fatal force in suppressing civilian disorders when the total circumstances at the critical time are such that nonlethal force would suffice to restore order and the use of lethal force is not reasonably necessary (). After granting certiorari, the Supreme Court of the United States was informed that none of the named plaintiffs was still enrolled in the University, that the officials originally named as party defendants no longer held offices in which they could exercise any authority over the state’s National Guard, that the National Guard had adopted new “use-of-force” rules differing substantially from those in effect when the complaint was filed, and that the initial training of National Guard recruits relating to civil disorder control had been revised.”





Case Information

Citation: 413 US 1 (1973)
Argued: Mar 19, 1973
Decided: Jun 21, 1973
Case Brief: 1973