Mississippi had a program
where they would subsidize textbooks to local schools, both private and
The program was available to
all schools, even those with racially discriminatory policies.
Four schoolchildren sued,
claiming that the subsidy program constituted State entanglement in the
actions of the private, racist schools.
Mississippi argued that they
weren't personally discriminating against anyone, and the actions of
private entities were not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the State Action Doctrine.
The schoolchildren argued
that the program was a violation of the 14th Amendment'sEqual Protection Clause because
it effectively supported private entities that engaged in racial
That's known as the Entanglement
The US Supreme Court found for
The US Supreme Court found
that by subsidizing textbooks, Mississippi was giving economic support to
the racist schools. Since racial discrimination is barred by the
Constitution, a government entity cannot induce, encourage, or promote
private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to
Basically, this case said that
a government entity cannot subsidize a private entity that is violating
Constitutional protections, even thought that private entity is not bound
by the Constitution.
This is true even if the
government is giving the same subsidy to everybody equally.