McDaniel v. Barresi

LOCATION: Edward Coolidge's Home

DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1970-1971)

CITATION: 402 US 39 (1971)
ARGUED: Oct 13, 1970
DECIDED: Apr 20, 1971

Facts of the case


Media for McDaniel v. Barresi

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 13, 1970 in McDaniel v. Barresi

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear argument in number 420, McDaniel against Barresi.

Mr. Epting you may proceed whenever you’re ready.

Eugene A. Epting:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

I think the Court will find that this case is somewhat unique.

I would venture to say that in most, if not all, of the cases before this Court involving Boards of Education, the Board has been here either complaining that it should not be required to do what its been told and asked to do or defending itself, in claiming that it has done all that it's required to do.

Here you have the Board of Education defending itself against the charge that it’s doing too much.

In other words, Clarke County Board of Education has tried to avoid the entanglement of federal court decisions in regard to the question of desegregation.

So far it has succeeded and when I hear and read the arguments in regard to the tribulations of Charlotte and Mobil and Clarksdale, Bessemer, Jefferson, I think they have acted wisely on that score.

But, we have come to the proposition where having avoided entanglement and federal court authors running our of schools, we find ourselves faced with as a state court injunction that says, we can’t do what we have done, because in undertaking to honor the Fourteenth Amendment Rights of some people, we are thereby violating the Fourteenth Amendment Rights of others.

Now, I would agree with the tenner of the arguments in Charlotte that all of these busing of students from one community to another is not in the best interest of the education is that -- if I understand one of their points correctly, but in the Clarke County case, we are not dealing where the Court ordered busing.

We are dealing with what has been called pocket busing to a limited extent.

We are small school district.

We have only 11,000 students.

We have only 15 elementary students.

We call it pocket busing, in Charlotte they called it “Satellite Zoning,” but it means the same thing.

In undertaking to pocket bus and if the Court wishes to look at the record, I think you will see a map on page 174 that shows the geographical locations of these pockets of students who were bused to schools which were formally, predominantly of the other race.

If you will look at page 167, you will see the chart of a neighborhood plan which was best adopted by this Court, and which shows the extent, the chart on the map shows the extent of racial mixing.

When we talk about desegregation and racial balance and integration, when we get it all down to a common denominator, we are talking about mixing the races in the school, that’s what it amounts to in plain simple language.

Byron R. White:

And the Board here decided to do it?

Eugene A. Epting:

The Board here decided to -- well, let's put it this way.

The Board felt that under the judge -- the decisions of this Court and particularly the decisions of the Fifth Circuit Court, we were compelled to do it.

Byron R. White:

But you weren't under an order?

Eugene A. Epting:

We were not under an order and we didn’t want to get under an order.

Byron R. White:

And you [Laughter] -- so, does this case pose the question I asked the counsel who just --

Eugene A. Epting:

It’s strikingly similar except they’re talking about a statutory --

Byron R. White:

I mean, in terms of the power of the board on its own to do something?

Eugene A. Epting:

Yes sir, yes sir.

Now, it is our position that when this Court decided Brown II, this Court said that there was a duty on the Boards of Education to do something more than back off from state order of discrimination.

Brown I had already said that and if that was all we required to do is stop segregating by law then we didn’t need Brown II and we didn’t need Copper versus Aaron, and we didn’t need Green versus New Kent County.

Brown I had already said that’s unconstitutional, but when this Court said in Brown II, we’re going to give you some -- in effect some guidelines.