Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629; 70 S. Ct. 848; 94 L. Ed. 1114 (1950)

Facts—The University of Texas Law School denied admission to Sweatt solely because he was black, and state law prohibited African Americans from admission to the school. The state of Texas then established a law school for blacks that was not on an academic par with the law school of the University of Texas.

Question—Did Sweatt’s denial of admission to the University of Texas Law School constitute a denial of equal protection?


ReasonsC.J. Vinson (9–0). As an individual Sweatt was entitled to the equal protection of the laws, and the state was bound to furnish facilities for legal education substantially equal to those the state afforded to persons of the white race. Such education was not available to him in a separate law school as offered by the state. In assessing equality, the Court must examine not only tangible factors capable of measurement but also intangible factors like the prestige of the school, the reputation of alumni, and so forth.

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