U.S. Supreme Court
COOPER v. AARON, 358 U.S. 1 (1958)
358 U.S. 1
COOPER ET AL., MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE LITTLE ROCK,
ARKANSAS, INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET AL. v. AARON ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT.Fn
Argued September 11, 1958.
Decided September 12, 1958.
Opinion announced September 29, 1958.
Fn [358 U.S. 1, 1]
NOTE: The per curiam opinion announced on September 12, 1958, and printed in a footnote, post, p.
5, applies not only to this case but also to No. 1, Misc., August Special Term, 1958, Aaron et al. v. Cooper et al., on
application for vacation of order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit staying issuance of its
mandate, for stay of order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and for such other
orders as petitioners may be entitled to, argued August 28, 1958.
Under a plan of gradual desegregation of the races in the public schools of Little Rock, Arkansas, adopted by petitioners
and approved by the courts below, respondents, Negro children, were ordered admitted to a previously all-white high
school at the beginning of the 1957-1958 school year. Due to actions by the Legislature and Governor of the State
opposing desegregation, and to threats of mob violence resulting therefrom, respondents were unable to attend the school
until troops were sent and maintained there by the Federal Government for their protection; but they [358 U.S. 1, 2]
attended the school for the remainder of that school year. Finding that these events had resulted in tensions, bedlam, chaos
and turmoil in the school, which disrupted the educational process, the District Court, in June 1958, granted petitioners'
request that operation of their plan of desegregation be suspended for two and one-half years, and that respondents be sent
back to segregated schools. The Court of Appeals reversed. Held: The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed, and
the orders of the District Court enforcing petitioners' plan of desegregation are reinstated, effective immediately. Pp. 4-20.
1. This Court cannot countenance a claim by the Governor and Legislature of a State that there is no duty on state
officials to obey federal court orders resting on this Court's considered interpretation of the United States
Constitution in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 . P. 4.
2. This Court rejects the contention that it should uphold a suspension of the Little Rock School Board's plan to
do away with segregated public schools in Little Rock until state laws and efforts to upset and nullify its holding
in the Brown case have been further challenged and tested in the courts. P. 4.
3. In many locations, obedience to the duty of desegregation will require the immediate general admission of