Interview with Paul Wilson
QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

CAN WE STOP FOR A MOMENT? NOW, IN THE APPEAL, WHEN YOU WERE ARGUING THE BROWN CASE IN FRONT OF THE SUPREME COURT, WHAT WAS THE LEGAL BASIS OF THE ARGUMENT IN THE APPEAL OF THIS CASE?

Paul Wilson:

The argument made by the state of Kansas, and I spoke only for the state of Kansas, in — before the Supreme Court in this case, was that the separate but equal doctrine was not offensive to the constitutional uh, requirement of equal protection of the laws. We relied upon precedent, commencing with Plessy against Ferguson, and going through a number of federal cases. We relied upon decisions of the Supreme Court of Kansas, we relied upon history, uh, which had sanctioned separate but equal. We relied upon the values in our culture, which up to that time had uh, sanctioned programs of this sort. Our argument was mainly historical. And then we went beyond that, and argued that public education was a matter for the states, and if uh the policy were to be changed, it was a matter for the state legislature, and not the Supreme Court of the United States.