Excluded from an all-white District of Columbia public school because of their race, five African-American schoolchildren filed suit to challenge segregation as unlawful.
Bound by precedent with which he personally disagreed, District Court Judge Walter Bastian granted summary judgment against the schoolchildren, but he strongly urged them to seek immediate relief in the Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court stepped in before the Court of Appeals could act and heard the case together with Brown v. Board of Education. In Brown, the Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection prohibits States from racially segregating their schools.
On the same day, in Bolling v. Sharpe, the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits the District of Columbia from doing so as well.