布朗訴教育局案

布朗訴教育局案
Brown v. Board of Education

 

   我們下此結論:在公立教育領域,「隔離但卻平等」的論點站不住腳。


        1954517日,最高法院全體一致作出裁決:公立學校的種族隔離違反憲法。最高法院以前已宣佈高等院校中的種族隔離為非法。在最高法院作出裁決的時候,十七個州的公立學校仍依法實行種族隔離;另四個州允許學區實行種族隔離。最高法院的裁決不僅推翻了堪薩斯州托皮卡市──該市的琳達‧布朗一直被拒於街區白人學校之外──的種族隔離法,而且推翻了南卡羅來納、特拉華、佛吉尼亞等州和首都華盛頓的同類法令。位於美國南北交界地帶的幾個地區立即採取行動終止種族隔離。但是南方的大部分地區拒不執行裁決。

        從布朗一案的時期直到六十年代中期,聯邦法院同難對付的南方諸地區衝突不斷,因為一個又一個地方發起鬥爭(均以失敗告終)以維護種族隔離學校。

        布朗一案裁決的影響遠遠超出了公立學校的範圍。它為法院對美國生活各方面的種族隔離提出挑戰提供了法律基礎。該裁決廢止了各州實行種族隔離的權力,把美國黑人引入政治進程,從而比以往任何一項最高法院裁決更多地改變了美國人民的日常生活。


    這些案子從堪薩斯、南卡羅來納、佛吉尼亞和特拉華等州提交到我們這裏。它們以各自不同的事實和各自不同的當地情況為前提,但是一個共同的法律問題證明了以統一的觀點一併考慮它們的重要性。

    在所有這些案子中,黑色人種的未成年人通過他們的法律代表請求得到法院的幫助,以便能在非種族隔離的基礎上進入他們社區的公立學校就讀。在每一案例中,他們皆因要求或允許實行種族隔離的法律被拒於白人孩子就讀的學校之外。這種種族隔離被指控剝奪了原告按憲法第十四修正案的法令得到同等保護的權利。除了特拉華州的案子,在各案件中,由三位法官組成的聯邦地區法院均拒絕援助原告,其依據是最高法院在審理普列西訴弗格森一案中提出的所謂「隔離但卻平等」的論點。……根據這一論點,只要提供給不同的種族實質上是平等的設施,即便這些設施是隔離的,仍應視作給予了平等待遇。……

    原告爭辯說,實行種族隔離的公立學校是不「平等」的,而且無法使其變得「平等」,因而他們被剝奪了受到有關法律保護的平等權利。由於所提出的問題顯而易見的重要性,本法院行使裁判權。……

    下文中的調查結果表明,案件涉及的黑人和白人學校在校舍、課程、教師的資格和薪金以及其他「有形的」因素方面一向平等或目前是平等的。因此我們的裁定不能僅僅依靠對這些案子中有關黑人和白人學校的這些有形的因素進行比較。我們應該注意種族隔離本身對公立教育的影響。 

   在處理這一問題時,我們不能把時鐘撥回1868年上述修正案獲通過的時候,也不能撥回到1896年對普列西對弗格森一案寫下結論之時,我們應根據公立教育的整個發展史及其當今在美國的地位來考慮公立教育問題。只有這樣才能判定公立學校的種族隔離是否剝奪了這些原告受有關法律保護的平等權利。

   今天,教育事業也許是州和地方政府最重要的功能。義務教育法和教育上的鉅額支出這二者都表明我們認識到教育對我們民主社會的重要性。在我們履行最基本的公共職責時需要教育,甚至在軍隊服役也需要教育。教育是良好的個人品德表現的不折不扣基礎。今天,教育是完成這些任務的主要手段:讓孩子領悟文化的價值,為孩子未來的專業訓練作好準備,幫助孩子很好地適應其周圍環境。如今,倘若一個孩子失去了受教育的機會,人們就很難有什麼理由指望他在生活中取得成功。這樣一種受教育的機會,國家保證提供的機會,應該成為人人均能按平等條件獲得的權利。

   我們現在討論正題:即令物質設備和其他「有形的」因素可能平等。在公立學校僅僅根據種族差異對孩子實行隔離的做法是否剝奪了少數人種孩子平等的教育機會呢?我們認為確是如此。

    在斯威特訴佩思特一案中,……本法院在很大程度上依據「那些無法客觀衡量但卻構成一所法律學校的精華的那些品質」發現一所專供黑人就讀的法律學校不能向黑人提供平等的教育機會。在麥克勞林訴俄克拉何馬州評議員一案中,本法院要求一個被一所專供白人深造的研究院錄取的黑人得到與其他學生平等的待遇。當時本法院也是考慮無形的因素:……他的研究能力、與其他學生討論問題和交流觀點的能力、學習專業的能力。」這種考慮更適用於中小學。只因種族不同,把一些學生同另一些年齡和學歷相仿的學生隔離開來,會使這些學生對自己在社區的身份產生自卑感,這種自卑感對他們心智造成的影響日後難以消除。這種隔離對他們受教育機會的影響在一所法院對堪薩斯一案的調查報告中寫得很清楚,然而該法院卻迫於壓力作出不利於黑人原告的判決: 

    「在公立學校將白人和黑人孩子隔離的做法給黑人孩子帶來有害的影響。一旦它得到法律准許,其影響就更大了;因為種族隔離的政策通常被理解為表明黑人低人一等。自卑感削弱了一個孩子的學習動力。因此,得到法律准許的種族隔離很容易造成黑人孩子們學業和智力發展遲緩,而且剝奪了他們可能從兼收不同種族學生的學校得到的某些好處。」

   不論普列西訴弗格森案的時期心理學知識達到何種程度,這一調查報告為現代權威所充分證實。普列西訴弗格森案的裁決中任何與此調查報告相牴觸的語言應予以否定。

    我們下此結論:在公立教育領域,「隔離但卻平等」的論點站不住腳。隔離的教育設施有其內在的不平等性。因此我們認為,引起起訴的原告和其他處境相同的人被他們所控訴的種族隔離剝奪了受憲法第十四修正案規定的法律保護的平等權利。……

 


These cases come to us from the states of Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. They are premised on different facts and different local conditions, but a common legal question justifies their consideration together in this consolidated opinion.

    In each of the cases, minors of the Negro race, through their legal representatives, seek the aid of the courts in obtaining admission to the public schools of their community on a non segregated basis. In each instance, they have been denied admission to schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to race. This segregation was alleged to deprive the plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. In each of the cases other than the Delaware case, a three-judge federal district court denied relief to the plaintiffs on the so-called "separate but equal" doctrine announced by this Court in Plessy v. Ferguson. . . . Under that doctrine, equality of treatment is accorded when the races are provided substantially equal facilities, even though these facilities be separate. . . .

    The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not "equal" and cannot be made "equal," and that hence they are deprived of theequal protection of the laws. Because of the obvious importance of the question presented, the Court took jurisdiction. . . .

    There are findings below that the Negro and white schools involved have been equalized, or are being equalized, with respect to buildings, curricula, qualifications and salaries of teachers, and other "tangible" factors. Our decision, therefore, cannot turn on merely a comparison of these tangible factors in the Negro and white schools involved in each of the cases. We must look instead to the effect of segregation itself on public education.

   In approaching this problem, we cannot turn the clock back to 1868 when the Amendmentwas adopted, or even to 1896 when Plessy v. Ferguson was written. We must consider public education in the light of its full development and its present place in American life through out the nation. Only in this way can it be determined if segregation in public schools deprives these plaintiffs of the equal protection of the laws.

    Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.

    We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.

    In Sweatt v. Painter, . . . in finding that a segregated law school for Negroes could not provide them equal educational opportunities, this Court relied in large part on "those qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness in a law school." In McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, . . . the Court, in requiring that a Negro admitted to a white graduate school be treated like all other students, again resorted to intangible considerations: ". . . his ability to study, to engage in discussions and exchange views with other students, and, in general, to learn his profession." Such considerations apply with added force to children in grade and high schools. To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone. The effect of this separation on their educational opportunities was well stated by a finding in the Kansas case by a court which nevertheless felt compelled to rule against the Negro plaintiffs:

"Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. "The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law; for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the Negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to retard the educational and mental development of Negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racially integrated school system."

Whatever may have been the extent of psychological knowledge at the time of Plessy v. Ferguson, this finding is amply supported by modern authority. Any language in Plessy v. Ferguson contrary to this finding is rejected.

    We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. . . .