SCOTUS: Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, June 28, 2007

Here is the opinion of the US Supreme Court a/k/a SCOTUS in the Seattle and Jefferson County School desegregation cases released June 28, 2007.  For any SCOTUS afficianados, there were 75 slip opinions for the Oct 2006 term which can be found here.  The local case was styled Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education but was consolidated with the Seattle schools case.

From SCOTUSBLOG.com is the following short summary of this decision at Court strikes down school integration plans, ends Term:

[T]he Supreme Court divided 5-4 on Thursday in striking down voluntary integration plans in the public schools of Seattle and Louisville. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., wrote the majority opinion in the combined cases. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy did not join all of the majority opinion, but joined in the result. Kennedy suggested in a separate opinion that the Chief Justice’s opinion, in part, "is at least open to the interpretation that the Constitution requires school districts to ignore the problem of de facto resegregation in schooling. I cannot endorse that conclusion."

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," Roberts wrote. On the two school plans, the majority found that the districts have "failed to provide the necessary support for the proposition that there is no other way than individual racial classifications to avoid racial isolation in their school districts."

The Chief Justice, in his oral announcement of the ruling, insisted that the Court was remaining faithful to Brown v. Board of Education in barring public school districts from assigning students on the basis of race. Answering that, Justice John Paul Stevens said in dissent that there was a "cruel irony" in making that claim, because it involved a rewriting of the history "of one of this Court’s most important decisions." Stevens noted that he joined the Court in 1975, and asserted that "no member of the Court" at that time "would have agreed with today’s decision."

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