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Encyclopedia > Fifth Circuit Four

The "Fifth Circuit Four" (or simply "The Four") were four judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit who, during the late 1950s, became known for a series of decisions (which continued into the late 1960s) crucial in advancing the civil rights of African-Americans; in this they were opposed by fellow fifth-circuit judge Ben Cameron, a strong advocate of states' rights. At that time, the Fifth Circuit included not only Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (its jurisdiction as of 2004), but also Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and the Canal Zone.


"The Four" were Chief Judge Elbert Tuttle and his three colleagues John Minor Wisdom, John Brown, and Richard Rives. All but Rives were liberal Republicans; Rives was a Democrat and, according to Jack Bass, an intimate of Supreme Court justice Hugo Black.


Quote

"The Constitution is both color blind and color conscious. To avoid conflict with the equal protection clause, a classification that denies a benefit, causes harm, or imposes a burden must not be based on race. In that sense the Constitution is color blind. But the Constitution is color conscious to prevent discrimination being perpetuated and to undo the effects of past discrimination. The criterion is the relevancy of color to a legitimate government purpose."

- Judge John Minor Wisdom, writing for the majority in U.S. v. Jefferson County Board of Education, 1967.

Reference

  • Jack Bass, "The 'Fifth Circuit Four'", The Nation, May 3, 2004, p. 30-32.

  Results from FactBites:
 
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1118 words)
This court was created by the Evarts Act on June 16, 1891, which moved the circuit judges and appellate jurisdiction from the Circuit Courts of the Fifth Circuit to this court.
Established on December 10, 1869 by the Judiciary Act of 1869 as a circuit judgeship for the Fifth Circuit
^ Pardee was appointed as a circuit judge for the Fifth Circuit in 1881 by James A. Garfield.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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