Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



In the wake of Brown v. Board of Education' six recent cases arising in four states have involved a constitutional challenge to the validity of an issue of public bonds to finance segregated schools. In each case it was contended that bonds authorized and approved according to statute could not be validated or the proceeds used for a purpose now unconstitutional. Confronting this apparently meritorious contention was the impelling practical consideration of furthering public education in the already lagging South. Legal answers, embodying this equitable consideration, ranged from a plea to jurisdiction, to interpretation of a statute or bond, to a rationale that while unconstitutional, segregated school facilities are not illegal until integration has had local legal recognition. The outstanding similarities in these cases were the attitude of the courts and the result; the courts were unanimous in sustaining the validity of the issue and in rejecting the contention of unconstitutionality. Striking, however, is the fact that no two states refused to invalidate the bonds on the same ground, and that no general technique received approval in more than two courts. If for no other reason, this kaleidoscopic divergence of solution would be of sufficient legal interest to deserve comment.