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NCJ Number: 89555 Find in a Library
Title: Role of Masters in Court Ordered Institutional Reform
Journal: Baylor Law Review  Volume:34  Issue:4  Dated:(Fall 1982)  Pages:581-603
Author(s): D Dobray
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 23
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Although masters can be useful tools in monitoring compliance with court orders to remedy constitutional violation by public institutions, courts must tailor the master's role carefully and limit its authority to prevent unwarranted interference with an institution's internal operations.
Abstract: The development of Federal court remedial jurisdiction in many ways parallels that of equity jurisdiction which safeguarded personal rights rather than property interests. Equity provided for the appointment of a receiver to help the court in the remedial stage of litigation, and courts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries expanded receiverships to reorganize bankrupt railroads and protect victims of municipal bond defaults. The courts of chancery also used the office of master to perform administrative and procedural functions. The most viable justification for the appointment of an institutional reform master lies in the inherent powers of equity courts to enforce their decrees, as supported by Supreme Court decisions in Brown v. Board of Education II and Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. However, many courts give the reform master authority to investigate and determine the constitutionality of actions that were not challenged by the original lawsuit, and the institution has no opportunity to challenge the master's decisions in an adversary setting. This situation was evident in the Texas courts' use of masters to implement prison reform and monitor school desegregation efforts. The Fifth Circuit appellate court's review of the Texas cases criticized the court's giving broad authority and discretion to the masters and the court-appointed monitoring agency's procedures in applying sanctions to school districts. In appointing a master, courts must tailor the remedy to fit the violation and take care to preserve constitutionally sound procedures. The paper includes 125 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Court ordered institutional reform; Judicial decision compliance; Master (court-appointed); Texas
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