Education and the Supreme Court

Education and the Supreme Court

Education and the Supreme Court

Education and the Supreme Court

Excerpt

On the first Monday of next October, the most powerful judicial tribunal in the world will meet at Washington in regular annual session. Thence, until the following June, it will resume its role as an arbiter of American political and social development. The Supreme Court has been committed to this role since it began to exercise the power of judicial review and, it should be remembered, this power of judicial review is the outstanding fact in American jurisprudence. From the exercise of this power, Supreme Court decisions which bear clear social implications have lately included an increasing number which affect education.

Education, although affected by the decisions, is not, however, mentioned in the Constitution and is never, therefore, directly at issue before the Supreme Court. For the founding fathers, seeking to adjust the differing ideologies entangled in the colonial heritages and in American sectionalism, responded to the matter of education as they did to many others. They simply relegated it to the individual states and to the future through the expedient of making no reference to it in the original document. Nor has it been mentioned in any of the amendments.

Consequently, public education resides as a function of the state and local governments. Federal control can be exercised only through: (1) Such general federal power as that emanating from the guarantee . . .

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