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High Court Rules Bus Segregation Unconstitutional

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Author Topic: High Court Rules Bus Segregation Unconstitutional  (Read 113 times)
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« on: November 13, 2009, 07:12:40 am »

Grew Out of Boycott

The ruling affirmed today grew out of a boycott by Negroes in Montgomery, Ala., of the local buses. The boycott began last year and is continuing.

Aurelia S. Browder, Susie McDonald, Claudette Colvin and Mary Louise Smith, Negroes, had been required by bus drivers or the police to comply with segregation laws and had been arrested and fined for refusal to do so.

The Montgomery City code required bus operators to provide separate but equal accommodations for white and colored passengers. A state law also required segregation.

The four women did not appeal their convictions, but brought suit to challenge the constitutionality of the city code and the sate law.

A court composed of Circuit Judge Richard T. Rives and District Judges Frank M. Johnson Jr. and Seybourn H. Lynne heard the case. Judges Rives and Johnson held the challenged statues unconstitutional. Judge Lynne dissented.

The Alabama Public Service Commission and the Montgomery Board of Commissioners appealed to the Supreme Court. They asserted that the high court never had overruled the Plessy v. Ferguson decision. They urged the court to hear the case and give a clear-cut, written opinion disposing of the issue.

The court, however, merely granted a motion of lawyers for the Negroes that the lower court decision be affirmed.

John Patterson, Attorney General of Alabama, and Walter J. Knabe of Montgomery presented the appeals of the state and municipal bodies. The Negroes were represented by Thurgood Marshall, Robert L. Carter, Fred D. Gray and Charles D. Langford.

Slight Delay Is Foreseen

Fort Worth, Tex., Nov. 13 – United Circuit Judge Richard T. Rives of Montgomery, Ala., said today the Supreme Court injunction against segregation on Montgomery buses would go into effect as soon as the court's order reached the United Sates District Court at Montgomery.

Customarily, an order takes two or three weeks to reach the district court, he said.

Judge Rives is in Fort Worth for a session of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is one of three special judges whose decision on bus segregation was upheld by the Supreme Court today.

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