339 U.S. 629, 70 S.Ct. 848, 94 L.Ed. 1114 ( 1950)
The petitioner, Sweatt, was denied admission to the University of Texas Law School because the admission of Negro students to that institution was prohibited by law. When Sweatt sought a writ of mandamus in a Texas court to compel his admission, the court, although recognizing that he had been denied the equal Protection of law ( Texas at that time provided no law school for Negro students), refused to compel his admission. Instead the case was continued for six months to allow the state time to supply substantially equal facilities. At the end of the six months a law school for Negroes was in the planning stage; shortly afterwards it was opened. Sweatt refused to register at the new school and pressed his original mandamus suit. The Texas courts held that substantially equal facilities were now afforded and denied mandamus. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE VINSON delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637, present different aspects of this general question: To what extent does the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment limit the power of a state to distinguish between students of different races in professional and graduate education in a state university? Broader issues have been urged for our consideration, but we adhere to the principle of deciding constitutional questions only in the context of the particular case before the Court. . . .
The University of Texas Law School, from which petitioner was excluded, was staffed by a faculty of sixteen full-time and three part-time professors, some of whom are nationally recognized authorities in their field. Its student body numbered 850. The library contained over 65,000 volumes. Among the other facilities available to the students were a law review, moot court facilities, scholarship funds, and Order of the Coif affiliation. The school's alumni occupy the most distinguished positions in the private practice of the law and in the public life of the State. It may properly be considered one of the nation's ranking law schools.
The law school for Negroes which was to have opened in February, 1947, would have had no independent faculty or library. The teaching was to be carried on by four members of the University of Texas Law School faculty, who were to maintain their offices at the University of Texas while teaching at both institutions. Few of the 10,000 Volumes ordered for the library had arrived; nor was there any full-time librarian. The school lacked accreditation.
Since the trial of this case, respondents report the opening of a law school at the Texas State University for Negroes. It is apparently on the road to full accreditation. It has a faculty of