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state law should be set aside. It represents the tested public policy of Virginia regularly enacted, long maintained and currently observed. The officially declared state interests, even when affecting interstate commerce, should not be laid aside summarily by this Court in the absence of congressional action. It is only Congress that can supply affirmative national uniformity of action.

In Southern Pacific Co. v. Arizona, 325 U. S. 761, 768– 769, 770, this Court speaking through the late Chief Justice said:

“In the application of these principles some enactments may be found to be plainly within and others plainly without state power. But between these extremes lies the infinite variety of cases, in which regulation of local matters may also operate as a regulation of commerce, in which reconciliation of the conAlicting claims of state and national power is to be attained only by some appraisal and accommodation of the competing demands of the state and national interests involved.

“But in general Congress has left it to the courts to formulate the rules thus interpreting the commerce clause in its application, doubtless because it has appreciated the destructive consequences to the commerce of the nation if their si. e. the courts'] protection were withdrawn, .. and has been aware that in their application state laws will not be invalidated without the support of relevant factual material which will afford a sure basis for an informed judgment." Meanwhile, Congress has accommodated its legislation, as have the states, to these rules as an established feature of our constitutional system. There has thus been left to the states wide scope for

8 See Parker v. Brown, 317 U. S. 341, 362; Di Santo v. Pennsylvania, 273 U.S. 34, 44.

Terminal Assn. v. Trainmen, 318 U. S. 1, 8.

the regulation of matters of local state concern, even though it in some measure affects the commerce, provided it does not materially restrict the free flow of commerce across state lines, or interfere with it in matters with respect to which uniformity of regulation is of predominant national concern." (Italics

supplied.) The above-quoted requirement of a factual establishment of “a sure basis” for an informed judgment by this Court calls for a firm and demonstrable basis of action on the part of this Court. In the record of this case there are no findings of fact that demonstrate adequately the excessiveness of the burden, if any, which the Virginia statute has imposed upon interstate commerce, during the many years since its enactment, in comparison with the resulting effect in Virginia of the invalidation of this statute. The Court relies largely upon the recital of a nation-wide diversity among state statutes on this subject without a demonstration of the factual situation in those states, and especially in Virginia. The Court therefore is not able in this case to make that necessary "appraisal and accommodation of the competing demands of the state and national interests involved” which should be the foundation for passing upon the validity of a state statute of long standing and of important local significance in the exercise of the state police power.

5 Hall v. DeCuir, 95 U. S. 485, does not require the conclusion reached by the Court in this case. The Louisiana statute in the DeCuir case could have been invalidated, at that time and place, as an undue burden on interstate commerce under the rules clearly stated by Chief Justice Stone in Southern Pacific Co. v. Arizona, supra, and as applied in this dissenting opinion. If the De('uir case is followed without weighing the surrounding facts, it would invalidate today statutes in New England states prohibiting racial separation in seating arrangements on carriers, which would not be invalidated under the doctrine stated in the Arizona case.

The Court makes its own further assumption that the question of racial separation of interstate passengers in motor vehicle carriers requires national uniformity of treatment rather than diversity of treatment at this time. The inaction of Congress is an important indication that, in the opinion of Congress, this issue is better met without nationally uniform affirmative regulation than with it. Legislation raising the issue long has been, and is now, pending before Congress but has not reached the floor of either House. The fact that 18 states have prohibited in some degree racial separation in public carriers is important progress in the direction of uniformity. The fact, however, that 10 contiguous states in some degree require, by state law, some racial separation of passengers on motor carriers indicates a different appraisal by them of the needs and conditions in those areas than in others. The remaining 20 states have not gone equally far in either direction. This recital of existing legislative diversity is evidence against the validity of the assumption by this Court that there exists today a requirement of a single uniform national rule on the subject.

It is a fundamental concept of our Constitution that where conditions are diverse the solution of problems arising out of them may well come through the application of diversified treatment matching the diversified needs as determined by our local governments. Uniformity of treatment is appropriate where a substantial uniformity of conditions exists.

• See H. R. 8821, 75th Cong., 3d Sess., 83 Cong. Rec. 74; H. R. 182, 76th Cong., 1st Sess., 84 Cong. Rec. 27; H. R. 112, 77th Cong., 1st Sess., 87 Cong. Rec. 13.

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(332 U.S. 631 (1948))


No. 369. Argued January 7–8, 1948.—Decided January 12, 1948.

A Negro, concededly qualified to receive professional legal education

offered by a State, cannot be denied such education because of her color. The State must provide such education for her in conformity with the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendnient and provide it as soon as it does for applicants of any other group. Pp. 632-633. 199 Okla. 36, 180 P. 2d 135, reversed.

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma affirmed a denial by an inferior state court of a writ of mandamus to require admission of a qualified Negro applicant to a state law school. 199 Okla. 36, 180 P. 2d 135. This Court granted certiorari. 332 U'. S. 814. Reversed, p. 633.

Thurgood Marshall and Amos 7'. Hall argued the cause for petitioner. With them on the brief was Frank D. Reeves.

Fred Hansen, First Assistant Attorney General of Oklahoma, and Maurice H. Merrill argued the cause for respondents. With them on the brief was Mac Q. \'illiamson, Attorney General.

Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed by Robert W. Kenny, 0. John Rogge, and Andrew D. Weinberger for the National Lawyers Guild; and Arthur Garfield Hays and Osmond K. Fraenkel for the American Civil Liberties Union.


On January 14, 1946, the petitioner, a Negro, concededly qualified to receive the professional legal education offered by the State, applied for admission to the School of Law of the University of Oklahoma, the only institution for legal education supported and maintained by the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma. Petitioner's application for admission was denied, solely because of her color.

Petitioner then made application for a writ of mandamus in the District Court of Cleveland County, Oklahoma. The writ of mandamus was refused, and the Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma affirmed the judgment of the District Court. 199 Okla. 36, 180 P. 2d 135. We brought the case here for review.

The petitioner is entitled to secure legal education afforded by a state institution. To this time, it has been denied her although during the same period many white applicants have been afforded legal education by the State. The State must provide it for her in conformity with the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and provide it as soon as it does for applicants of any other group. Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938).

The judgment of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma is reversed and the cause is remanded to that court for proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion. The mandate shall issue forthwith.


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