Inside the Supreme Court

Petition to Decision

Papers of Supreme Court Justices on Civil Rights Cases

David Achtenberg

Professor & Law Foundation Scholar

UMKC School of Law

Kansas City, MO 64110-2499





Jett Home
Jett v. Dallas Independent School District


1 Compare,  Springer v. Seaman, 821 F.2d 871, 880-81 (1st Cir. 1987)(holding 1981 suits not governed by Monell) and Leonard v. Frankfort Electric and Water Plant Board, 752 F.2d 189, 194, n. 9 (6th Cir. 1985)(same) with Jett v. Dallas Independent School District, 798 F.2d 748 (5th Cir. 1986)(panel opinion) (holding 1981 governed by Monell) and Jett v. Dallas Independent School District, 837 F.2d 1234 (denying rehearing)(same).
2 Public employers remained liable for employment discrimination under the modern civil rights acts such as Title VII.
3 See, Pittman v. Oregon Employment Department, 509 F.3d 1065, 1069 (9th Cir. 2007) (recognizing that all the circuits other than the 9th have held that enactment of 42 U.S. C. 1981(c) did not overrule Jett).  The Ninth Circuit, in Federation of African American Contractors v. City of Oakland, 96 F.3d 1204 (9th Cir. 1996), held that the enactment of 42 U.S.C. 1981(c) did permit plaintiffs to bring racial discrimination cases against municipalities under Section 1981, but also held that such suits would be subject to Monells ban on respondeat superior.
4 The playoff game pitted predominantly white Plano High School, a perennial powerhouse, against all-black South Oak Cliff.  The Plano coach objected to having black officials assigned to the game, but Jett successfully argued that they should be.  After a 14-0 loss, Jett entered the official's locker room and berated them, saying he would never use black officials again.
5 Jett alleged that Todd wanted South Oak Cliff to be be the first predominantly black school to win the state championship and that having a white coach was an obstacle to that goal.  He claimed that Todd believed that a state championship team would depend on having a black coach who would recruit middle school players from predominantly black middle schools.  (Recruitment of middle school athletes would have been a violation of district policy.) 
6 Principal Todd settled before the case went to the Supreme Court.