Journal of Supreme Court History
In October Term 1954, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the implementation of the Brown decision. The resulting opinion is commonly referred to as “Brown II.” In his unanimous opinion, Chief Justice Earl Warren ordered local school districts to desegregate their schools “with all deliberate speed.” Supporters of immediate integration were dismayed by the vague language, which ultimately allowed southern states to use a variety of tactics to deliberately evade and resist the Court’s mandate that public schools be desegregated.
What has been forgotten in the discussion of Brown II and the “all deliberate speed” standard is that Chief Justice Warren himself forced a public school to desegregate within months of the first Brown decision. He achieved this feat not through a court order, but by the hiring of Charles Bush. And Bush, in courageously accepting the challenge of being the first minority page, helped the Court take its first tentative step in fulfilling the promise of Brown v. Board of Education.
Todd C. Peppers, The Chief Justice and the Page: Earl Warren, Charles Bush, and the Promise of Brown v. Board of Education, 47 J. Sup. Ct. Hist. 27 (2022).