Norwood v. Harrison
413 U.S. 455 (1973)

  • Mississippi had a program where they would subsidize textbooks to local schools, both private and public.
    • 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’s Equal Protection Clause because it effectively supported private entities that engaged in racial discrimination.
      • That’s known as the Entanglement Exception.
  • The US Supreme Court found for the schoolchildren.
    • 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 do.
  • 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.