Constitutional Law Keyed to Cohen
Pennsylvania v. Board of City Trusts
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Stephen Girard, through his will, left a trust fund for the creation and maintenance of a college. In his will he specified that the college was to admit “as many poor white male orphans, between the ages of six and ten years, as the said income shall be adequate to maintain.” The will further named the city of Philadelphia as trustee, and the State and City carried out the provisions of the will with the opening of the college in 1848. The trust has been administered and the college operated by the Board of Directors of City Trusts of the City of Philadelphia since 1869. In February 1954 Petitioners applied for admission, and met all qualifications except for the fact they were Negroes. They petitioned the Orphan’s Court of Philadelphia County to order the Board of Directors to admit them, alleging that their exclusion because of their race violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The State of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia later joined the suit, also contending that the Board’s action violated the Fourteenth Amendment. Nevertheless the Orphan’s Court rejected the constitutional contention and refused to admit the Petitioners, and was affirmed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
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