The Education Justice: The Honorable Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr

By Dodd, Victoria J. | Fordham Urban Law Journal, December 2001 | Go to article overview

The Education Justice: The Honorable Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr


Dodd, Victoria J., Fordham Urban Law Journal


INTRODUCTION

The Honorable Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr. is "the education Justice" of the United States. During his tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court, from 1971 to 1987, Justice Powell authored at least twenty major opinions in education law, in addition to numerous significant concurrences and dissents. Just a sampling of Justice Powell's majority opinions on education could form the bulk of an education law textbook recognizable by any American law student. Among Justice Powell's most memorable education opinions are Healy v. James, (1) San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, (2) Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, (3) Ingraham v. Wright, (4) Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, (5) Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, (6) Ambach v. Norwick, (7) Southeastern Community College v. Davis, (8) National Labor Relations Board v. Yeshiva University, (9) Widmar v. Vincent, (10) Martinez v. Bynum, (11) and Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education. (12) A complete listing of Justice Powell's opinions relating to education appears in the appendix at the end of this Article.

Even more illustrative of Justice Powell's appellation as "the education Justice" are his deep connections, both public and private, to elementary, secondary, and higher education. These connections inevitably influenced Justice Powell's views on education, much as Justice Harry A. Blackmun's role as general counsel for the Mayo Clinic permeated his majority opinion in Roe v. Wade. (13)

This Article will explore some of Justice Powell's major Supreme Court rulings in education law. It will also consider how these rulings may have related to aspects of Justice Powell's life. In addition, the Article will briefly describe the Supreme Court's current views on education and will attempt to describe how Justice Powell might analyze these issues today. At least one sitting Justice on the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, appears to have been influenced by Justice Powell's views. (14) Justice O'Connor occupies a similar ideological position on the Supreme Court as did Justice Powell, who wrote more than 250 majority opinions and whose "knack for being on the winning side never dropped below eighty per cent in any term, and often exceeded ninety per cent." (15)

In the first part of the Article, a brief biography of Justice Powell will be presented, emphasizing his connection to education. The second part of the Article will discuss Justice Powell's views in three extremely important cases: San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, (16) Ingraham v. Wright, (17) and Committee of Public Education and Religious Liberty v. Nyquist. (18) Woven into the case discussions will be aspects of Justice Powell's biography, as well as the present Supreme Court's thoughts on these issues. The last section of the Article will focus on the Bakke (19) opinion, asking if the Supreme Court can sustain Justice Powell's reasoning in Bakke today.

I. A BRIEF LOOK AT JUSTICE POWELL'S LIFE, (20) PARTICULARLY IN THE REALM OF EDUCATION

Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr., was born on September 19, 1907, in Suffolk, Virginia. His father was a hardworking and prosperous businessman who never let his offspring take their comfort for granted. Powell's father required him to work during the summer at various blue-collar occupations. (21) Although a bit roughhewn, Justice Powell's father traced his roots to the Jamestown, Virginia settlers of 1607, a fact which invoked references to Justice Powell as a patrician Southern gentleman. (22)

Justice Powell considered his upbringing to have been very traditional. He stated, "I was raised in a very devout Christian family. We would have prayers every morning after breakfast, and every evening we'd kneel to pray and read a few verses from the Bible." (23) Justice Powell as a youth attended McGuire's University School, a private preparatory school. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Education Justice: The Honorable Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.