Professor Justine Khadduri
February 6, 2013
Lau v. Nichols 414 U.S. 563 (1974)
In summary, what was the primary issue that brought this case to the Supreme Court and what was the Court’s final decision regarding Lau v. Nichols? Do you Agree with or disagree with the Court’s decision? How do you believe this case has affected public education? Do you believe that our current system is fulfilling the needs of students in accordance with Lau v. Nichols?
During its 1974/75 term the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case filed against the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a class action suit brought by non-English speaking Chinese students against officials responsible for the operation of the San Francisco Unified School District. Certiorari is an extraordinary judicial review in which the U.S. Supreme Court review cases of public importance. The primary issue of the case was whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [to the U.S. Constitution, July 9, 1868] apply to the students of the respondents’ school district and whether it can be interpreted in such way that the school system is responsible to assure that students of a particular race, color or national origin [in Lau v. Nichols non-English speaking Chinese students] cannot be denied the opportunity to obtain the same education that is generally obtained by other students in the system. Instead of applying the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment the Supreme Court applied the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and cited the statement of Senator Humphrey “Simple justice requires that public funds [such as funds used by the public education system and received through the channels of federal financial assistance], to which all taxpayers of all races contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes, or results in racial discrimination.” The Supreme Court...