Thurgood Marshall: Cases Argued

Thurgood Marshall, a trailblazer, in the Supreme Court

Charles Hamilton Houston

Charles Hamilton Houston

Photograph of Charles Hamilton Houston (1895-1950), November 22, 1939, from the Prints and Photographs Div., Library of Congress.

"Unless black lawyers are 'social engineers,' they are 'parasites'."

Quote from Charles Hamilton Houston.

Charles Hamilton Houston, Dean of Howard University's Law School and mentor to Thurgood Marshall. "Marshall credited Houston with teaching him that the practice of law could and should serve as a tool for creating equality in society."

Beginning in the 1930s, Houston served as the first special counsel to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and therefore was involved with the majority of civil rights cases from then until his death on April 22, 1950. 

A Few Legal Terms Explained

These legal term definitions can be found at Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute [LII]. This link takes you to their index of legal terms.

Audio Recordings of Justice Marshall's Opinions in Four Cases, 1960-1999

The OYEZ Project, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) -
Justice Thurgood Marshall's written opinions on cases, 1960-1999.

Listen to audio recordings of the following four cases:

Cooper v. Aaron (1958)

Katzenbach v. Morgan (1966)

Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

United States v. Guest (1966)

Last Surviving Attorney Who Argued "Brown V. Board of Education" Dies

Jack Greenberg, who was part of Thurgood Marshall's legal team of seven lawyers involved in arguing "Brown v. Board of Education" and he took on many other civil rights cases, died in 2016.

Severo, Richard, and William McDonald.  "Pillar of the Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 91." New York Times, 12 Oct. 2016.

Descriptions of Cases Argued by Thurgood Marshall in the Supreme Court

Below, find links to clear, concise descriptions of each case argued by Thurgood Marshall before the Supreme Court of the United States (1943 - 1961), written by Marilyn Howard, Associate Professor, Humanities.

The list is in chronological order by the date decided.

Articles Authored by Marilyn Howard

Legal Decisions of the Cases Argued in the Supreme Court

This photograph of Thurgood Marshall, Attorney for the NAACP, was photographed by Thomas J. O'Halloran and published Sept. 17, 1957. Available through the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Div.

The list below are of cases between 1943-1961, brought before the Supreme Court of the United States by the NAACP or the Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., in which Thurgood Marshall argued the case.

These are arranged in chronological order by the dates the Supreme Court decided the case.

Cases Argued:

  • Adams v. United States, 319 U.S. 312 (1943)
    - 5/10/43, Argued, 5/24/43, Decided.
  • Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944) 
    - 11/10, 11/12/43, Argued, 4/3/44 Decided, Reargued 1/12/44.
  • Lyons v. Oklahoma, 322 U.S. 596 (1944)
    - 4/26/44 Argued, 6/5/44 Decided.‚Äč
  • Morgan v. Virginia, 328 U.S. 373 (1946)
    - 3/27/46, Argued, 6/3/46, Decided.
  • Patton v. Mississippi, 332 U.S. 463 (1947)
    - 11/21, 11/24/47, Argued, 12/8/47, Decided.
  • Sipuel v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma et al., 332 U.S. 631 (1948)
     - 1/7-8/48, Argued, 1/12/48, Decided.
  • Fisher v. Hurst333 U.S. 147 (1948) 
    - 2/16/48, Decided.
  • Rice et al. v. Elmore, 333 U.S. 875 (1948)
    - 4/19/48. Certiorari denied.
  • Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948)
    - 1/15-16/1948, Argued, 5/3/48, Decided.
  • Taylor v. Alabama, 335 U.S. 252 (1948) 
    - 4/30, 5/3/48, Argued, 5/21/48, Decided.
  • Watts v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49 (1949)
    - 4/25/49, Argued, 6/27/49, Decided.
  • Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950)
    - 4/4/50, Argued, 6/5/50, Decided.
  • Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas et al., 347 U.S. 483 (1954)
    - 12/9/52, Argued, 12/8/53, Reargued, 5/17/54, Decided.
  • Florida ex rel. Hawkins v. Board of Control of Florida et al.347 U.S. 971 (1954)
    - 5/24/54.
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas et al., 349 U.S. 294 (1955)
    - Reargued on the question of relief, 4/11-14/55, Opinion and judgements announced, 5/31/55.
  • Lucy v. Adams, 350 U.S. 1 (1955)
    - 10/10/55.
  • Mayor & City Council of Baltimore et al. v. Dawson et al., 350 U.S. 877 (1955)
    - 11/7/55.
  • Holmes et al. v. Atlanta et al., 350 U.S. 879 (1955)
    - 11/7/55.
  • Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina et al. v. Frasier et al., 350 U.S. 979 (1956)
    - 3/5/1956.
  • Florida ex rel. Hawkins v. Board of Control of Florida et al., 350 U.S. 413 (1956)
    - 3/12/56.
  • South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., v. Flemming, 351 U.S. 901 (1956)
    - 4/23/56.
  • Gayle v. Browder, 352 U.S. 903 (1956)
    - 11/13/56.
  • Bryan v. Austin, 354 U.S. 933 (1957)
    - 6/24/57.
  • Florida ex rel. Hawkins v. Board of Control of Florida et al., 355 U.S. 839 (1957)
    - 10/14/57.
  • Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958)
    - 9/11/58, Argued, 9/12/58, Decided, Opinion announced 9/29/58.
  • State Athletic Commission v. Dorsey, 359 U.S. 533 (1959)
    - 5/25/59, Decided.
  • Harrison v. NAACP et al., 360 U.S.167 (1959)
    - 3/23-24/59, Argued, 6/8/59, Decided.
  • NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson, 360 U.S. 240 (1959)
    - 6/8/59, Decided.
  • Faubus v. Aaron, 361 U.S. 197 (1959)
    - 12/14/59, Decided.
  • Boynton v. Virginia, 364 U.S. 454 (1960)
    - 10/12/60, Argued, 12/5/60, Decided.
  • United States v. Louisiana et al., 364 U.S. 500 (1960)
    - 12/12/60, Decided with Bush v. Orleans Parish School Board and Williams et al. v. Davis et al.
  • Tinsley v. City of Richmond, 368 U.S. 18 (1961)
    - 10/23/61, Decided.

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