Court says ‘no’ to racial assignments

On a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the use of race in school assignments for the purpose of increasing racial diversity. The cases involved Seattle and Louisville but could affect many other school districts.

“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” (Chief Justice John) Roberts wrote for four of the court’s nine justices. The ruling applies to school districts that aren’t under a court order to remove the vestiges of past discrimination.

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a dissent that was joined by the court’s other three liberals. Breyer said the ruling would “threaten the promise” of the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision, and warned, “this is a decision that the court and the nation will come to regret.”

In a concurring opinion, Justice Kennedy argued that districts can use “race-conscious measures” such as “strategic site selection of new schools; drawing attendance zones with general recognition of neighborhood demographics; allocating resources for special programs; recruiting students and faculty in a targeted fashion; and tracking enrollments, performance, and other statistics by race.”

Balancing enrollments by students’ poverty status would not be banned by the court ruling and would provide de facto racial diversity in many cities.

Go to SCOTUS Blog for more, including a link to the opinions (on pdf). NAACP’s integration site has some quick reactions.

Discriminations links to an argument that racial assignment is “upside down Brown.”

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  1. Gosh, I wonder about this.

    What impact will it have 10, 20 years down the road?

    If a school is racially segregated, what’s to be done about it? Anything? Nothing? Is it OK to just leave it be?

    Isn’t there evidence that children in the south that grew up in integrated schools didn’t inherit the racism of their parents?

    Isn’t it true that racism only festers where there is segregation?

    But I don’t know. Should the federal government have any kind of say in how communities want to run their schools?

    I don’t like the federal government getting involved on the local level, but what other alternatives were there for the south in the 50’s and the 60’s?

    Maybe we can just declare racism as a problem that’s now cured and just move on?

  2. Ragnarok says:

    Maybe we can continue to force inferior educations on innocent kids in the name of “DIVERSITY”?

    On the other hand, you could argue that many public schools are uniformly mediocre, so what’s to be lost? At least we continue to employ the bus drivers. Carry on, Jeeves!

  3. If a school is racially segregated, what’s to be done about it? Anything? Nothing? Is it OK to just leave it be?

    Yes, it’s OK, as long as there are no legal barriers to preventing kids from attending schools based on their skin color. That’s what Brown did and what the high court just reaffirmed! Brown did NOT mandate “diversity” nor even mandatory desegregated schools. It mandated that there can be no legal barriers TO desegregation, i.e. if black children lived next door (or close) to a predominately white school, they must be permitted to attend said school instead of being bused elsewhere to an “all-black” school. The busing “craze” of the 1970s obviously took Brown a step further by mandating [usually specific race ratio] deseg. plans; however, courts since then (like the recent SCOTUS) have taken a more Brown-originalist approach.

    Isn’t it true that racism only festers where there is segregation?

    I don’t know. Is it? Doesn’t government social engineering like forced busing and the plans in KY and Seattle that were shot down by the SCOTUS also cause racism to fester? Different admissions standards (at schools and colleges) for different race categories?

    Would HBCs (Historically Black Colleges) thus be “causing racism to fester” by their segregation? That’s just one of the many inherent contradictions of the modern definition of “diversity” — it’s a one-way street. If there’s a predominantly white (and/or Asian, too, actually) institution, it must become “diverse” at all costs to assure all sorts of nebulous “benefits.” Yet, these same “benefits” do not apply to HBCs or other predominantly minority institutions. Clarence Thomas, in his recent concurrence, wondered that if the “diversity” Seattle so desired was so beneficial, why did the district maintain a K-8 “African-American Academy” designed to raise black student test scores?

  4. Andy Freeman says:

    Jim Crow said that certain kids couldn’t attend certain schools because said kids were the wrong color. The Seattle school district got slapped down for saying the same thing.

  5. Robert Wright,

    I share your concerns for the future, but the Jewish minority in Germany wase very well integrated into Germany before the rise of Hitler.

    “Isn’t it true that racism only festers where there is segregation”, is not always the case

  6. Walter E. Wallis says:

    It is not some unique, inherent value in the black existence that makes segregation wrong, it is that equal justice under the law is the keystone of our whole philosophy of governing. As soon as one person becomes “more equal than others,” [or less] it all falls apart and becomes mob rule.

  7. Maybe we can just declare racism as a problem that’s now cured and just move on?

    Works for me. Once you take away the force of law on which racism depends you can just step back and let the inevitable happen.

    Racism is much more difficult to justify to yourself when you have to bear its costs. For the shop keeper who’s more concerned with his profitability then with maintaining racial purity, black and white takes a back seat to green.