Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Plyler v. Doe case brief

Plyler v. Doe case brief summary
457 U.S. 202 (1982)

Defendant school districts sought review of the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which held that the revision of the Texas Education Code, Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 21.031, that permitted local school districts to deny enrollment in public schools to plaintiffs, undocumented children, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Texas Legislature revised its education laws, Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 21.031, to authorize local school districts to deny enrollment in public schools to children not legally admitted to the country. Plaintiffs, undocumented school-aged children, challenged the revision on equal protection grounds.


  • In affirming the lower court's decision that the revision violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the United States Supreme Court rejected the claim that illegal aliens were a suspect class. 
  • Unlike most of the classifications that had been recognized as suspect, entry into this class, by virtue of entry into this country, was the product of voluntary action. Indeed, entry into the class was itself a crime. 
  • However, plaintiffs were not comparably situated. 
  • The protection of the Fourteenth Amendment extended to anyone, citizen or stranger, who was subject to the laws of a state. 
  • Furthermore, denial of an education to plaintiffs posed an affront to one of the goals of the Equal Protection Clause, which was the abolition of governmental barriers presenting unreasonable obstacles to advancement on the basis of individual merit.
The Court affirmed the decision, noting that if the state wished to deny plaintiffs, undocumented school-aged children, the free public education that it offered to other children residing within its borders, the denial was to be justified by a showing that it furthered some substantial state interest.

Suggested Study Aids and Books

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Evolution of Legal Marketing: From Billboards to Digital Leads Over the last couple of decades, the face of legal marketing has changed a l...