LEE v. MACON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
231 F.Supp. 743 (1964)
Anthony T. LEE and Henry A. Lee, by Detroit Lee and Hattie M. Lee, their parents and next friends, et al., Plaintiffs,
United States of America, Plaintiff and Amicus Curiae,
MACON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION et al., Defendants.
Civ. A. No. 604-E.
United States District Court M. D. Alabama, E. D.
July 13, 1964.
Fred D. Gray, Montgomery, Ala., Jack Greenberg, Charles H. Jones, Jr., Constance Baker Motley, and Norman Amaker, New York City, for plaintiffs Lee, et al.
Ben Hardeman, U. S. Atty., Montgomery, Ala., and St. John Barrett, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., for United States.
Richmond M. Flowers, Atty. Gen., and Gordon Madison, Asst. Atty. Gen., Montgomery, Ala., Maury D. Smith (of Goodwyn & Smith), Marion Rushton (of Rushton, Stakely & Johnston), Sam Rice Baker (of Steiner, Crum & Baker), and Hill, Hill, Whiting & Harris, Montgomery, Ala., for defendants.
Before RIVES, Circuit Judge, and GROOMS and JOHNSON, District Judges.
This case was originally filed in January of 1963. The plaintiffs, who are Negro children and their parents residing in Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama, originally sought relief of the defendants the Macon County Board of Education, its individual members, and C. A. Pruitt as Superintendent of Education of Macon County. Jurisdiction was invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343 (3) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The suit was brought as a class action under Rule 23(a) (3), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The case as originally filed sought to have this Court enjoin the Board of Education of Macon County, Alabama, and the other named defendants from continuing a policy, practice, custom and usage of maintaining and operating a compulsory biracial school system in Macon County, Alabama, and assigning school children, including the plaintiffs, on the basis of their race. In addition and among other things, the plaintiffs ask this Court to make and enter the necessary orders assuring their constitutional right and the constitutional right of other members of their race and class to attend the public schools of Macon County, Alabama, without being discriminated against on account of their race or color. In July, 1963, plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against defendants' operation of a racially discriminatory school system and in the alternative renewed their request to have the defendants submit a desegregation plan. This Court at this stage of the proceeding determined that the public interest in the administration of justice and in preserving law and order and in protecting the authority and integrity of the lawfully constituted courts of the United States made it appropriate and necessary that the United States of America be designated to appear
and participate as a party in all proceedings in this action before this Court.1
After hearing the testimony, the District Judge on August 13, 1963, granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, and in a memorandum opinion filed August 22, 1963,2 found and held that the action was a proper class action; that these plaintiffs were authorized to file and maintain the action; that the defendant Board operated a compulsory biracial school system; that all pupils, teachers and other school personnel were assigned solely on the basis of race or color; that the defendant Board was under a constitutional obligation to eliminate the compulsory biracial school system; and that the defendant Board's conduct violated plaintiffs' rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The defendant County Board of Education was ordered to submit by December, 1963, a general plan for the desegregation of the Macon County public schools. The Board was also ordered to begin desegration in its county school system by September, 1963, through the nondiscriminatory use of the Alabama Placement Law. In compliance with the order of this Court, the Macon County Board of Education assigned 13 Negro pupils to previously "white" Tuskegee High School. On September 2, 1963, these Negro pupils were denied entrance to Tuskegee High School by Alabama State troopers acting pursuant to an Executive Order of Governor George C. Wallace declaring the school closed until September 9, 1963. This action by the Governor of the State of Alabama was without the knowledge or consent of the Macon County Board of Education. Subsequently and on September 9, 1963, State troopers again prevented entrance of the Negro pupils to Tuskegee High School; this action was also upon the order of Governor Wallace; whereupon the United States filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against the Governor, which this Court granted. This restraining order was subsequently enlarged into a preliminary injunction.3 Among other things, the Court's order enjoined Governor Wallace from interfering with or obstructing the Macon County Board of Education in administering the operation of the Macon County school system in compliance with the order of this Court. In February of 1964, plaintiffs filed an amended and supplemental complaint, together with motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. This complaint joined as defendants in the action the Alabama State Board of Education, the State Superintendent of Education and Governor George C. Wallace as President of the State Board of Education. The amended and supplemental complaint alleged, among other things, that the Alabama State Board of Education had asserted general control and supervision over all the public schools of the State and that their design, action and purpose in asserting this control was to continue operation of a racially segregated school system throughout the State of Alabama and particularly in Macon County, Alabama. In their motion for a preliminary injunction, the plaintiffs ask this Court to enjoin the Governor of Alabama, the defendant State Board of Education, and the individual members thereof, from continuing to operate a compulsory biracial school system in all
the counties in the State of Alabama, including Macon County, and, in the alternative, request the Court to require a plan for the complete reorganization of the public school system in the State of Alabama on a nonracial basis. In addition, the plaintiffs seek to enjoin further enforcement by the defendants of Title 52, Code of Alabama, Sections 61(13-19) and 61(20-21) and any other statute permitting the use of public funds for the maintenance of "private," segregated schools where the effect and purpose is to circumvent the orders of this or any other Federal court. They also seek to enjoin the enforcement of certain State Board of Education resolutions directing the payment of public funds as tuition grants for pupils to attend private schools and to enjoin the defendants from closing public schools in Macon County, Alabama, or elsewhere in the State. In February, 1964, this Court ordered the temporary restraining order issued, and continued the same in effect pending a hearing on plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. At this stage of the proceeding, the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in response to a request of the District Judge, filed with the Clerk of this Court his order designating a three-judge court in this case, said designation being pursuant to the provisions of Title 28, Section 2284, United States Code. This three-judge District Court immediately issued an order continuing in force and effect the temporary restraining order issued by the District Judge until a hearing and determination by the three-judge court upon plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The matter was set and heard; at the conclusion of the hearing, the Court requested that written briefs be filed by all parties and that the briefs specifically address themselves to six questions as framed by the Court. These questions were as follows:
"1. Should the present temporary restraining order be enlarged into a preliminary injunction? In what way, if any, should the preliminary injunction differ from the present restraining order?
"2. Should this Court declare unconstitutional the Alabama statutes relating to grants-in-aid, or, in the alternative, should this Court declare the use of grants-in-aid unconstitutional in the application where such use is designed to perpetuate and has the effect of perpetuating the segregation of the races in the public school systems in the State of Alabama, and, if so, should such use be enjoined?
"3. Whether the Governor, the State Superintendent of Education and the State Board of Education, and its members, should be enjoined from interfering with the County and City Boards of Education in the desegregation of the schools throughout the State.
"4. Whether under the evidence an order should issue desegregating all of the public schools of the State at the elementary and secondary level based upon the assumption or usurpation of authority by the Governor, the State Superintendent of Education, and the State Board of Education and its members.