Quotes

Here are some key quotes from the Briggs v. Elliott dissent:

Segregation equals inequality

The Briggs dissent

The Briggs dissent

“It was clearly apparent, as it should be to any thoughtful person, irrespective of having such expert testimony, that segregation in education can never produce equality and that it is an evil that must be eradicated.  This case presents the matter clearly for adjudication and I am of the opinion that all of the legal guideposts, expert testimony, common sense and reason point unerringly to the conclusion that the system of segregation in education adopted and practiced in the State of South Carolina must go and must go now.

Segregation is per se inequality.

Briggs dissent, p. 77

 Entitled to rights now

“If this method of judicial evasion be adopted, these very infant Plaintiffs now pupils in Clarendon County will  probably be bringing suits for their children and grandchildren decades or rather generations hence in an effort to get for their descendants what are today denied to them.  If they are entitled to any rights as American citizens, they are entitled to have these rights n ow and not in the future.  …

“We should be unwilling to straddle or avoid this issue and if the suggestion made by these Defendants is to be adopted as the type of justice to be meted out by this Court, then I want no part of it.”

Briggs dissent, p. 64-5

14th Amendment was intended to end discrimination

“It seems to me that it is unnecessary to pore through voluminous arguments and opinions to ascertain what the foregoing [Fourteenth Amendment] means.  And while it is true that we have had hundreds, perhaps thousands, of legal opinions outlining and defining the various effects and overtones on our laws and life brought about by the adoption of this Amendment, one of ordinary ability and understanding of the English language will have no trouble in knowing that when this Amendment was adopted, it was intended to do away with discrimination between our citizens.”

Briggs dissent, p. 64-5

No explanation for racial prejudice

“There is absolutely no reasonable explanation for racial prejudice.  It is all caused by unreasonable emotional reactions and these are gained in early childhood.  Let the little child’s mind be poisoned by prejudice of this kind and it is practically impossible for to ever remove these impressions however many years he may have of teaching by philosophers, religious leaders or patriotic citizens.  If segregation is wrong then the place to stop it is in the first grade and not in graduate colleges.”

Briggs dissent, p. 77