Constitutional Law I, Pages 22–23

Cooper v. Aaron

Supreme Court of the United States, 1958


Petitioners, school authorities from Little Rock, AR, asked to postpone their plan to de-segregate their school because it might cause turmoil.

Procedural History:

  • District court granted the requested delay.

  • Court of appeals reversed.


Are Supreme Court decisions finding laws unconstitutional binding on those not parties to the case?

Petitioner's Argument:

The Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education does not apply here, because petitioners were not parties to that case.


It is the courts' job to say what the law is. If states can ignore the judgments of the courts and the rights granted thereby, then the the Constitution becomes a mockery. The state governments were become the supreme law of the land, not the Constitution.


Yes, state officials are all bound by Supreme Court decisions, even if they are not parties to the suits.

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