Thursday, June 28, 2007

Supreme Court Overturns Brown v. Board of Education

George E.C. Hayes, Thurgood Marshall, and James Nabrit, congratulating each other, following Supreme Court decision declaring segregation unconstitutional (wikipedia)

Segregation is back. Today the Supreme Court ruled that cities cannot address segregation within their school systems by taking race into account in assigning students to schools. Here's the opinion (pdf file, 185 pages)

In other words, separate is equal. Again.

Chief Injustice Roberts says in his opinion that he's not overturning Brown. Right.

Here's (part of) what Justice Breyer had to say, in dissent:

These cases consider the longstanding efforts of two local school boards to integrate their public schools. The school board plans before us resemble many others adopted in the last 50 years by primary and secondary schools throughout the Nation. All of those plans represent local efforts to bring about the kind of racially integrated education that Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S. 483 (1954), long ago promised -- efforts that this Court has repeatedly required, permitted, and encouraged local authorities to undertake. This Court has recognized that the public interests at stake in such cases are "compelling." We have approved of "narrowly tailored" plans that are no less race-conscious than the plans before us. And we have understood that the Constitution permits local communities to adopt desegregation plans even where it does not require them to do so.

The plurality pays inadequate attention to this law, to past opinions' rationales, their language, and the contexts in which they arise. As a result, it reverses course and reaches the wrong conclusion. In doing so, it distorts precedent, it misapplies the relevant constitutional principles, it announces legal rules that will obstruct efforts by state and local governments to deal effectively with the growing resegregation of public schools, it threatens to substitute for present calm a disruptive round of racerelated litigation, and it undermines Brown's promise of integrated primary and secondary education that local communities have sought to make a reality. This cannot be justified in the name of the Equal Protection Clause.

Justice Stevens:

There is a cruel irony in The Chief Justice's reliance on our decision in Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U. S. 294 (1955). The first sentence in the concluding paragraph of his opinion states: "Before Brown, schoolchildren were told where they could and could not go to school based on the color of their skin." This sentence reminds me of Anatole France's observation: "[T]he majestic equality of the la[w], forbid[s] rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." The Chief Justice fails to note that it was only black schoolchildren who were so ordered; indeed, the history books do not tell stories of white children struggling to attend black schools. In this and other ways, The Chief Justice rewrites the history of one of this Court's most important decisions....

The Court has changed significantly since it decided School Comm. of Boston in 1968. It was then more faithful to Brown and more respectful of our precedent than it is today. It is my firm conviction that no Member of the Court that I joined in 1975 would have agreed with today's decision.

The sound you just heard was Thurgood Marshall, who argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1953, rolling over in his grave.

SCOTUSblog: Court strikes down school integration plans, ends Term

I hope that the 22 Democrats who voted to put Roberts on the court are sick to their stomachs today.


Anonymous said...

This is just all prelude to the Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade. Count on it. Iraq. Brown v. Board. Roe v. Wade. Torture. Reasons why elections matter.

Anfield Iron.

truth said...

I am afraid that you are right.

Damn Sandra Day O'Connor to hell.