Sweatt v. Painter Case Brief

Facts of the case

In 1946, Heman Marion Sweatt, a black man, applied for admission to the University of Texas Law School. State law restricted access to the university to whites, and Sweatt’s application was automatically rejected because of his race. When Sweatt asked the state courts to order his admission, the university attempted to provide separate but equal facilities for black law students.


The United States Supreme Court reversed and held that the equal protection clause required that petitioner be admitted to the University of Texas Law School. Whether the University of Texas was compared with the original or new law school for African Americans, the Court could not find substantial equality in the educational opportunities offered to white and black law students by the state. Petitioner applicant had a constitutional right to a legal education equivalent to that offered to students of other races and it was not available in a separate law school. A newly established state law school for African American students did not provide the equivalent educational opportunities offered to white students at a state university, and respondent school officials denied petitioner his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • Advocates: W. J. Durham for the petitioner Thurgood Marshall for the petitioner Price Daniel for the respondents Joe R. Greenhill for the respondents
  • Petitioner: Heman Marion Sweatt
  • Respondent: Theophilis Shickel Painter
  • DECIDED BY:Vinson Court
  • Location: University of Texas Law School
Citation: 339 US 629 (1950)
Argued: Apr 4, 1950
Decided: Jun 5, 1950
Sweatt v. Painter Case Brief