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In Porter v. Warner 328 U.S. 395 (1946) the Court seeded on the verge of giving equity a radical expansion by arguing that when the “public interest is involved in a proceeding” the equitable powers of the federal district courts “assume an even broader and more flexible character that when only a private controversy is at stake.” But it was not until 1955 that it became clear just how fluid equity had become. The Court, in the second Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas 349 U.S. 294 (1955), fashioned a new understanding of the Court’s equitable remedial powers. The central thrust was that in the place of an individual adverse litigant the Court placed an aggrieved social class. Its remedies would be decreed, no longer for the individual who had been injured by the generality of the law, but rather for whole classes of people on the basis of a deprivation of rights — a deprivation that was provable only by resort to the uncertain realm of psychological knowledge and sociological laws unconstitutional and restricting their operation: it attempted to fashion broad remedies for those so deprived.

What is particularly striking about Warren's invocation of the federal equity power in Brown (II) is that, while he spoke of the “traditional attributes" and guiding “principles" of equity being controlling, he then ignored most of the more substantial equitable principles in writing his opinion.