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Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez took legal action after their children were not allowed to enroll at their neighborhood school in Westminster.  The case underscored that the struggle for civil rights in America crossed regional, racial, and ethnic lines.

On March 18, 1946, Judge Paul McCormick ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on the basis that the social, psychological, and pedagogical costs of segregated education were damaging to Mexican American students. The school districts appealed, claiming that the federal courts did not have jurisdiction over education, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately upheld McCormick’s decision on April 14, 1947, ruling that the schools’ actions violated California law.

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