Governor John Carney on Thursday announced his intention to nominate Justice Collins J. Seitz, Jr. to serve as the next Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court. Justice Seitz — who since 2015 has served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court — would replace Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., who announced his retirement in July. Governor Carney also intends to nominate Vice Chancellor Tamika Montgomery-Reeves to serve as Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, replacing Justice Seitz. (emphases added)
Delaware Business Times writes:
Hamermesh called the nomination of Seitz, whose late father Collins J. Seitz Sr. is held in high regard for his Chancery Court opinion supporting Delaware’s desegregation of schools, for the court’s top seat a “perfectly respectable pick.”
調べてみましたが、この判決は、どうやらBelton v. Gebhart, 32 Del. Ch. 343, 87 A.2d 862 (Del. Ch. 1952)のようです。著名なBrown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)の2年前の判決ということになります。衡平法裁判所がこういった人権問題を扱っていた時期があるんですね。
I conclude from the testimony that in our Delaware society, State-imposed segregation in education itself results in the Negro children, as a class, receiving educational opportunities which are substantially inferior to those available to white children otherwise similarly situated.
But my factual conclusion does not dispose of the first question presented. I say this because it is necessary to consider the decisions of the United States Supreme Court construing the Fourteenth Amendment as they apply to this general problem. Specifically, I must decide whether such a finding of fact as I have here made, is a proper basis for holding that such separate facilities cannot be equal. In other words, can the “separate but equal” doctrine be legally applied in the fields of elementary and secondary education?
Plaintiffs say that the situation here presented has never been passed upon by the United States Supreme Court, or the Supreme Court of Delaware, and so is an open question. I agree with the plaintiffs that the Supreme Court has not, so far as I can find, passed upon a case containing a specific finding as to the effect on the Negro, educationally, of State-imposed segregation in education. The question, however, which judicial integrity requires me to answer is this: Has the U.S. Supreme Court by fair or necessary implication decided that State-imposed segregated education on the grammar and high school levels, in and of itself, does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment?
The United States Supreme Court first announced what has come to be known as the “separate but equal” doctrine in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 16 S.Ct. 1138, 1144, 41 L.Ed. 256. It is, of course, true that that case involved a railway car situation. However, the defendants rely most strongly on Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78, 48 S.Ct. 91, [*350] 72 L.Ed. 172, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1927. In that case a Chinese citizen was required to attend an elementary school for Negroes in Mississippi, even though he claimed that he was entitled to admission to the school for whites. The court accepted the conclusion that he was “colored” and stated that the facilities available for Negroes, and therefore available to the Chinese plaintiff, were equal to those offered to the whites. Thus, the question was whether the State was required, under those circumstances, to admit him to the school for white children. The Supreme Court held that the State was not so required, citing many cases for the proposition that such a practice was within the constitutional power of the State, without interference because of the United States Constitution. It is true that there was no proof in that case concerning the effect of such State-imposed segregation on Negroes. But it seems to me that the very use of the “separate but equal” doctrine in an elementary school case, has implicit therein a recognition that in such a case there can be separate but equal educational opportunities in a constitutional sense. Of course, this could not be true were my finding of fact given constitutional recognition, but if it were, the principle itself would be destroyed. In other words, by implication, the Supreme Court of the United States has said a separate but equal test can be applied, at least below the college level. This court does not believe such an implication is justified under the evidence. Nevertheless, I do not believe a lower court can reject a principle of United States constitutional law which has been adopted by fair implication by the highest court of the land. I believe the “separate but equal” doctrine in education should be rejected, but I also believe its rejection must come from that court.Belton v. Gebhart, 32 Del. Ch. 343, 349-350, 87 A.2d 862, 865 (Del. Ch. 1952 )