BOLLING V. SHARPE The Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education (347 U. S. 483) which prohibited states from maintaining racially segregated public schools was based on the Court's belief that such prohibition was in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment, in turn, is applicable only to the individual states and not to the District of Columbia. In other words, being under federal authority and as the result of the fact that the powers of the federal government are not restricted by an equal protection clause, the Brown decision per se was not applicable to the District of Columbia. This problem was resolved by invoking the Fifth Amendment's due process clause, which was applicable to the District. The case in question was Bolling v. Sharpe (347 U. S. 497).
The Court's unanimous decision, delivered on the same day of the Brown decision, was read by Chief Justice Warren: "In view of our decision that the Constitution prohibits the states from maintaining racially segregated public schools, it would be unthinkable that the same Constitution would impose a lesser duty on the Federal Government. We hold that racial segregation in the public schools of the District of Columbia is a denial of the due process of law guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. See also: BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION.