Adler v. Board of Education

342 U.S. 485
Adler v. Board of Education
Argued: January 3, 1952
Decided: March 3, 1952


Mr. Osmond K. Fraenkel, New York City, for appellants.
Mr. Michael A. Castaldi, New York City, for appellee.
Mr. Wendell P. Brown, Albany, N.Y., for the State of New York amicus curiae by special leave of Court.
Mr. Justice MINTON delivered the opinion of the Court.

Dissenting Opinion

Mr. Justice BLACK, dissenting.

While I fully agree with the dissent of Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, the importance of this holding prompts me to add these thoughts.

This is another of those rapidly multiplying legislative enactments which make it dangerous-this time for school teachers-to think or say anything except what a transient majority happen to approve at the moment. Basically these laws rest on the belief that government should supervise and limit the flow of ideas into the minds of men. The tendency of such governmental policy is to mould people into a common intellectual pattern. Quite a different governmental policy rests on the belief that government should leave the mind and spirit of man absolutely free. Such a governmental policy encourages varied intellectual outlooks in the belief that the best views will prevail. This policy of freedom is in my judgment embodied in the First Amendment and made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth. Because of this policy public officials cannot be constitutionally vested with powers to select the ideas people can think about, censor the public views they can express, or choose the persons or groups people can associate with. Public officials with such powers are not public servants; they are public masters.

I dissent from the Court’s judgment sustaining this law which effectively penalizes school teachers for their thoughts and their associates.

Back to Top

Exported from Wikisource CC-BY-SA 3.0

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).