SWEATT V. PAINTER, 339 U. S. 629 (1950)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950)

Sweatt v. Painter

No. 44

Argued April 4, 1950

Decided June 5, 1950

339 U.S. 629


Petitioner was denied admission to the state supported University of Texas Law School, solely because he is a Negro and state law forbids the admission of Negroes to that Law School. He was offered, but he refused, enrollment in a separate law school newly established by the State for Negroes. The University of Texas Law School has 16 full-time and three part-time professors, 850 students, a library of 65,000 volumes, a law review, moot court facilities, scholarship funds, an Order of the Coif affiliation, many distinguished alumni, and much tradition and prestige. The separate law school for Negroes has five full-time professors, 23 students, a library of 16,500 volumes, a practice court, a legal aid association, and one alumnus admitted to the Texas Bar, but it excludes from its student body members of racial groups which number 85% of the population of the State and which include most of the lawyers, witnesses, jurors, judges, and other officials with whom petitioner would deal as a member of the Texas Bar.

Held: The legal education offered petitioner is not substantially equal to that which he would receive if admitted to the University of Texas Law School, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that he be admitted to the University of Texas Law School. Pp. 343 U. S. 631-636.


A Texas trial court found that a newly established state law school for Negroes offered petitioner "privileges, advantages, and opportunities for the study of law substantially equivalent to those offered by the State to white students at the University of Texas," and denied mandamus to compel his admission to the University of Texas Law School. The Court of Civil Appeals affirmed. 210 S.W.2d 442. The Texas Supreme Court denied writ of error. This Court granted certiorari. 338 U.S. 865. Reversed, p. 339 U. S. 636.

Page 339 U. S. 631

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