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Phillips vs. Phoenix Union High Schools and Junior College District Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County, No. 72909 Judge Fred C. Struckmeyer, Jr. (1912-1992) Judge Fred C. Struckmeyer, Jr., a native of Phoenix, was the son of Fred Struckmeyer, Sr., who served one term on the Superior Court in Maricopa County from 1923-1925. Judge Struckmeyer served in the Army during World War II and was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He became a Superior Court judge in 1950, before serving for 26 years as an Arizona Supreme Court justice. Judge Struckmeyer was known to be an excellent legal scholar and strict constitutionalist. He was also a recognized authority on Arizona water law. After his mandatory retirement at the age of 70 he was appointed to the Arizona Racing Commission.

On February 9, 1953, Judge Struckmeyer decided the case Phillips vs. Phoenix Union High Schools and Junior College District. At the time, the Carver High School, at 415 E. Grant St. in Phoenix, was the only legally segregated high school in the state. The Phillips case was filed by Hayzel B. Daniels, the first African-American to pass the Arizona bar examination and one of the first two African-Americans elected to the Arizona legislature, and long-time prominent Phoenix attorney Herbert B. Finn. Neither lawyer was paid for his work; Daniels paid the court filing fee out himself.

Writing that "a half century of intolerance is enough," Judge Struckmeyer ruled that the Arizona law permitting school boards to segregate pupils was unconstitutional, and the Phoenix Union district's segregation of African-American students was illegal. His decision was made a year before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education.

Below are links to PDFs of the documents filed in the Phillips case, including Judge Struckmeyer's decision. The PDFs were made from the official microfilm of the original documents.

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Document Date Type
Complaint July 2, 1952 PDF
Request for the Appointment of a Private Process Server July 2, 1952 PDF
Summons July 3, 1952 PDF
Affidavit of Service of Process by Private Process Server July 3, 1952 PDF
Answer August 2, 1952 PDF
Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment November 28, 1952 PDF
Motion for Withdrawal of Attorney and Order December 1, 1952 PDF
Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment December 16, 1952 PDF
Stipulation December 18, 1952 PDF
Opinion and Order February 9, 1953 PDF
Judgment and Order February 18, 1953 PDF
Notice of Appeal February 28, 1953 PDF
Designation of Contents of Record on Appeal March 10, 1953 PDF
Index   PDF
Certified Copy of Order Dismissing Appeal as Moot November 24, 1953 PDF

Significant Dates in Judge Struckmeyer's Career
1912 Born in Phoenix
1936 Received law degree from University of Arizona
1936 Admitted to Arizona Bar
1939 Became a deputy county attorney
1942 Served in United States Army during World War II
1946 Returned to private practice
1950 Appointed to Superior Court in Maricopa County
1953 Ruled that there was no legal authority for segregation in Arizona
1955-1982 Served for 26 years on the Arizona Supreme Court
1982 Appointed to the Arizona Racing Commission
1992 Died on June 22, at age of 80

References:
  • Boone, Linda C. "The Days of 'Haze': A Personal Journey Down the Back Road To Brown v. Board of Education." 36 Arizona Attorney 38 (March 2000).
  • "Frederick Christian Struckmeyer, Jr.," in Marquis Who's Who, 2004 ed. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hill MI: Thomson Gale, 2005
  • "Struckmeyer, Fred C., Jr.," in The American Bench: Judges of the Nation. Sacramento, CA: Reginald Bishop Forster & Associates, 1985
  • Superior Court in Arizona, 1912-1984: A History of the Court in Each County Since Statehood.
    [Phoenix, AZ]: The Arizona Supreme Court, 1985
  • Treadwell-Rubin, Pamela. "A Blessing of 'Firsts'." 40 Arizona Attorney 6 (January 2004)
  • Zarbin, Earl. The Bench and the Bar: A History of Maricopa County's Legal Professions. Chatsworth, CA: Windsor Publications, 1991 (Photo, p.65)