Smuck v. Hobson

132 U.S. App. D.C. 372, 408 F.2d 175 (1969)



Bad faith is not always a prerequisite to intervention, nor is it necessary that the interests of the intervenor and his putative champion already a party be wholly adverse. As the conditional wording of Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2) suggests in permitting intervention unless the applicant's interest is adequately represented by existing parties, the burden is on those opposing intervention to show the adequacy of the existing representation.


Appellees, the parents of school children, filed an action against a school board of education, which constitutionally challenged the operation of a school district regarding desegregation. The lower court found that the board of education had violated the Constitution in administering its schools by allowing racial discrimination in a number of ways. The board, as a collegial body, did not appeal, but the board member, as an individual, and the resigned superintendent perfected an appeal. The parents of certain school children also attempted to intervene in order to register on appeal their "dissent" from the lower court’s order. The appellate court remanded the case to make clear new board could evolve new programs, but the court did not modify the decree.


Did the appellee parents have the right to intervene despite the fact that the school board itself did not appeal?




The appellee parents had interests in their children's education and in the resolution of substantial questions of law that allowed intervention despite the fact that the school board itself did not appeal. However, the school board's discretion was not limited by court order to end its tracking system because the school board was still free to pursue goals of ability grouping, and long-range plan of pupil assignment was merely precatory. Consequently, the parents did not have standing to challenge the factual and legal bases of the decree.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.