However, minority groups and members of the civil rights movement were buoyed by the Brown decision even without specific directions for implementation. Proponents of judicial activism believed the Supreme Court had appropriately used its position to adapt the basis of the Constitution to address new problems in new times. The Warren Court stayed this course for the next 15 years, deciding cases that significantly affected not only race relations, but also the administration of criminal justice, the operation of the political process, and the separation of church and state.
The Supreme Court did not render a judgement after the initial oral arguments in Brown v. Board . Instead, the Court submitted a list of five questions for counsel to discuss at a rehearing that convened on December 7, 1953. The questions pertained to the history of the Fourteenth Amendment and the relation between the views of the Amendment framers' intent to “abolish segregation in public schools.” The questions also addressed what remedies to be used in the event the Court ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional. After assessing the questions, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund assembled a team of experts, including John A. Davis, a professor of political science at Lincoln University, Mabel Smythe, an economist, and psychologist Kenneth Clark, and scholars John Hope Franklin, C. Vann Woodward, and Horace Mann Bond, to conduct research during the summer.
Attempting to end segregated schools in the District of Columbia, Gardner Bishop and the Consolidated Parents Group, Inc., tried to enroll eleven African American students in the newly-completed John Philip Sousa Junior High School. The students were denied entrance. James Nabrit Jr., of Howard University, argued in the case Bolling v. Sharpe , that segregation itself was unconstitutional. The U. S. District Court dismissed the case, based on a Court of Appeals ruling in Carr v. Corning that segregated schools were constitutional. The U. S. Supreme Court included Nabrit’s appeal as part of Brown. Because the Fourteenth Amendment was not applicable to the District of Columbia, the Supreme Court gave a separate opinion on Bolling v. Sharpe , basing its decision on the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment.