What was the Supreme Court's Court's ruling in Cooper v. Aaron?  

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The backdrop to the Supreme Court's ruling in this case was its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which held that schools could no longer be racially segregated.  The Southern states resisted this strenuously.  In Arkansas, the legislature had actually amended the state's constitution to oppose desegregation.  Cooper v. Aaron made clear that the states could no longer resist or delay segregation, with laws, with constitutional amendments, or anything else.  The decision was sweeping in that it made clear that any state law or constitution that undermined or eliminated rights afforded by the Supreme Court was a nullity, and that the Supreme Court was the final arbiter of any disputes arising over such conflicts.  In order to have one country, truly united states, this ruling was a necessity. One's rights in one country should not be dependent upon what state one lives in.  An African-American child from Arkansas would have had to move to some other state to receive an education at a desegregated school.  

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The 1958 Cooper v. Aaron case was one of the most significant Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century. Essentially, the Supreme Court declared that its decisions are legally binding on all states, even those who disagree with its decision.

The Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education (desegregation of public schools) was unpopular in most of Arkansas. Consequently, the Arkansas state legislature amended the state constitution such that desegregating the schools would violate the state's constitution. In so doing, Arkansas implicitly declared it had the right to nullify federal court decisions it did not agree with.

However, all nine Supreme Court Justices rejected Arkansas' argument. They said that, since the Supreme Court was the ultimate interpreter of the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions must not contradict the Supreme Court's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

 

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