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The Supreme Court Says School Board Cannot Sort Students by Race

The Supreme Court decided 5-4 today that students can no longer be sorted into schools based only upon their race, which is what school systems in Seattle and Louisville had been doing. They were assigning students into specific schools based upon one criteria: race. This decision makes perfect sense to those who hold the individual above the collective. From the New York Times:

In a decision of sweeping importance to educators, parents and schoolchildren across the country, the Supreme Court today sharply limited the ability of school districts to manage the racial makeup of the student bodies in their schools.


The court voted, 5 to 4, to reject diversity plans from Seattle and Louisville, Ky., declaring that the districts had failed to meet "their heavy burden" of justifying "the extreme means they have chosen -- discriminating among individual students based on race by relying upon racial classifications in making school assignments," as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the court.

The school systems claimed this racial organization was done for the purpose of maintaining a "balance of diversity." When it becomes more important to maintain a balance than to focus on the needs of individual students, the whole then becomes more important than its parts. In other words, collectivism. Telling individual students that they cannot attend a particular school because their presence would upset the equilibrium of races (the collective) is offensive.

Proponents of these "integration" plans insist that today's decision will take us back to the days before Brown versus Board of Education. Ludicrous. Brown was decided because segregation violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, and today's decision was made based upon the same standards. Even though integration practices swung in the extreme opposite direction of segregation, it still violated the Equal Protection Clause because it denied students the access to schools.

Justice Breyer, however, thought the Constitution, particularly the Fourteenth Amendment, had no relevance here.

The four dissenters wrote, in effect, that the majority was standing history on its head. Justice Stephen G. Breyer said that today's result "threatens to substitute for present calm a disruptive round of race-related 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 Breyer went on, alluding to the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which bars states from denying people "the equal protection of the laws."

Those who are familiar with Justice Breyer's judicial philosophy know that he doesn't actually believe in ruling based upon the Constitution; instead he considers the purposes and the consequences of a law or activity. In other words, activities like these schools' integration policies can be blatantly unconstitutional, which they are since they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution, and that would be of no importance to him. Instead he only considers the consequences of striking down a law versus upholding it. So how does Justice Breyer protect and uphold the Constitution if he doesn't factor what the Constitution says into his decisions?

Update: The Democratic presidential candidates are seizing on this ruling for political purposes, insisting that it is a reversal of Brown v Board of Education, which is about as far from the truth as anyone can get. Just like today's ruling, Brown v Board of Education stopped the process of sorting children into specific schools based only upon race because it denied students equal access. Before 1954, black children were forced to attend black-only schools while white children went to white-only schools. Before today's ruling, children in the Seattle and Louisville school systems were sorted into schools based only upon race, too. The only difference between the two was that before Brown the goal was to separate the races at the detriment of equality; before today's ruling the goal was to integrate the races at the detriment of equality. The Democrats don't seem to understand the law: it doesn't matter if the goal is to separate or to integrate. If students are not getting equal protection of the law, the policy is unconstitutional. Today's ruling doesn't reverse Brown; it reinforces it.


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Comments (32)

That a majority actually ha... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

That a majority actually had to say that the way to stop racial discrimination in schools is to stop discriminating by race in school is sad.
-=Mike

I hope people here applaud ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

I hope people here applaud this...after all why should a local school district..or State have any say..I assume that folks that believe abortion should not be decided on a more local level ...and see this decision as ominous....
Screw Brown V...separate but equal may not have worked last century but it will work now...

Nogo, how do you get from t... (Below threshold)

Nogo, how do you get from the Supreme Court telling a school district not to segregate on the basis of race to a return to separate but equal?

The school districts in question were deliberately segregating some students on the basis of the melatonin level of their skin, and that thar is illegal, son.

(p.s. Lee, before you go harping on conservative misspellings, I deliberately spelled thar as I did in order to imply a certain accent in my writing.)

Wonderful...Bush's gift to ... (Below threshold)
hellcat:

Wonderful...Bush's gift to 21st century America ius a Supreme Court that has marched us bck to the 19th century.

By the time these conservative thugs have finished w/ the Constitution after 30 years, George III will have been resurrected.

One can only hope for extremely premature deaths on this panel of five knuckle-walking cro-magnons.

One can only hope ... (Below threshold)
One can only hope for extremely premature deaths on this panel of five knuckle-walking cro-magnons.
True lefty compassion on display here, folks.

Yep, saying schools can't discriminate on the basis of the melatonin levels in someone's skin is really taking us back. Yep. Sure. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Did ACLU Ruth manage to sta... (Below threshold)
Phil:

Did ACLU Ruth manage to stay awake this time during the arguments?

Separate but equal is alive... (Below threshold)

Separate but equal is alive and well... particularly among those who don't think it's necessary for people to learn English. Integration requires at least one language we have in common.

If we want *integration* then we need to promote integration. And we should.

My sister makes race based university enrollment almost sound like a good thing, that it is for *her* benefit to have this racially diverse environment. And it probably is for her benefit, if what happened afterward wasn't an attempt to cater to this little group here, and that little group there, and basically set up the campus in a nearly Balkanized manner. *Integration* rather than segregation is a good thing, if that was what was happening.

A further problem is that whatever the stated goal, discrimination on the basis of race is wrong.

This ruling was about public schools rather than university but it's still wrong to discriminate on the basis of race. Moreover it's hard to claim to be for integration when every policy separates students according to race. Those things are not compatible. It's a do as we say not as we do sort of thing. How can students be told that race doesn't matter when it obviously matters more than anything else?

Though people have mostly given up the idea of a color blind society in favor of a race-identity society.

Personally I think color blind is the way to go, culture existing at the family level in whatever unique combination children receive from maternal and paternal influence.

It's the American way.

True lefty compassion as we... (Below threshold)

True lefty compassion as well as reasoning ability.

Was there some argument offered as to *why* this puts us back to the bad old days? No.

One can only hope ... (Below threshold)
John in CA:
One can only hope for extremely premature deaths on this panel of five knuckle-walking cro-magnons.

Imagine the uproar if one of us conservatives had uttered something like, if only Stephens would finally keel over of a heart attack while playing tennis. Or RBG slipped quietly into her final nap...

Apparently, a belief that b... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Apparently, a belief that black kids are not so pathetic that they must be physically near white kids to not be completely useless citizens is a progressive value.

Well, the only Klan member in the Congress is a progressive darling, so it fits.
-=Mike

I can remember Detroit when... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

I can remember Detroit when it was grand.

Thriving business sector, crazy nightlife, Motown music, big cars with fins. Stuff going on all over.

But there were two events in 1968 that changed everything. First were the riots. Wild anarchy - I remember sitting on the roof with a shotgun.

The other was court ordered forced bussing to integrate schools. No longer would students be allowed to attend their neighborhood school by right. Many of them would sit on long bus rides to inferior schools. This tends to piss off parents, particularly those who paid more to live near better schools.

People left, first white, then black. Property values went down. Taxes went up, more people left. Death spiral. Still more people left, "giving" away the house. Still more taxes.

The day the Motown died.

Now one can read all sorts of liberal studies that show this or that and defend the actions of that one liberal judge who killed Detroit, but I have given the truth of it. Ask anyone who was there.

So I often wonder if we would still have 50 nightspots on Cass, or more than one or two downtown hotels. Would we be building still?

The tax base went down to such an extent that any black family that could, left. The plight of the children who stayed was all the worse, do-gooders notwithstanding.

And the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

John in CA:Ima... (Below threshold)
marc:

John in CA:

Imagine the uproar if one of us conservatives had uttered something like, if only Stephens would finally keel over of a heart attack while playing tennis. Or RBG slipped quietly into her final nap..

Careful, satire such as that needs not only satire tags but 1,000 watt neon lights over it to keep the likes of Lee and BarneyGRUBBLE from coming unhinged.

And even that precaution may fail.

Robert the "Original:... (Below threshold)
marc:

Robert the "Original:

I can remember Detroit when it was grand. hriving business sector, crazy nightlife, Motown music, big cars with fins. Stuff going on all over.

As well as I. I was a 16 year old in 1967 when the the riots began when as after hours drinking club or "blind pig" in a predominantly black neighborhoods located at Twelfth Street and Clairmount Avenue was raided.

Curious I was. Until tripping down Gratiot Ave and being blocked by police due to a sniper about a block further down the street.

"Fun" times.

One can only hope ... (Below threshold)
One can only hope for extremely premature deaths on this panel of five knuckle-walking cro-magnons.

Ya know, I just remembered... weren't lefties castigating a well-known blonde female conservative columnist for a similar statement? Say, in this thread right here?

Ahh, hypocrisy, thy name is leftist.

And another (interesting ac... (Below threshold)

And another (interesting actually) thread is killed off by a group of conservative trolls with Liberal Derangement Syndrome.

Heh. Are you saying hellca... (Below threshold)

Heh. Are you saying hellcat is a conservative troll with Liberal Derangement Syndrome?

Or were those "kind" words something you approve of?

Also, you could have contributed to the interesting part of the conversation but chose not to.

No, Synova, whenever we poi... (Below threshold)

No, Synova, whenever we point out hypocrisy or other failings or errors on the part of the left, Lee decides that we're all a bunch of "conservative trolls" and starts ranting about it.

Isn't it ironic how the lib... (Below threshold)
ODA316:

Isn't it ironic how the lib's heads are exploding over this. Racial-based placement is great but school vouchers are evil. LOLOLOLOL And we're supposed to take you guys seriously?

Careful, satire su... (Below threshold)
John in CA:
Careful, satire such as that needs not only satire tags but 1,000 watt neon lights over it to keep the likes of Lee and BarneyGRUBBLE from coming unhinged.

marc, you're right. I should have included the /sarc tag, lest I get Coultered.

Racial-based place... (Below threshold)
Racial-based placement is great but school vouchers are evil.

Makes perfect sense to the modern lefty... a/k/a modern socialist. The government is to make decisions for the people, the people are not able to make their own decisions.

As I understand the heavy b... (Below threshold)

As I understand the heavy burden bit (having a little experience from the direction of homeschooling) in order to violate certain rights the state has to prove that no other method will gain the same result. (That's why the *need* of the state to ensure all children are educated doesn't mean that the state can simply demand to be the sole educator, not without showing that the goal can not be met in any other fashion.)

So it seems this is what this ruling is about. The state has to show that their court mandated goal of integration can not be met in other ways. Because constitutional rights are involved (or at least the violation of those rights) the burden is on the state (the heavy burden) to show that sorting children by race isn't just the *easiest* way to integrate, but that there are no other ways that will do the job.

Hi Nic... (Below threshold)

Hi
Nice site! Wery Good! (Sry for my bad englesh)

Posted by: viagrabuy at June 29, 2007 12:45 AM

Now there's a comment spammer who knows where to find his target audience, and he even speaks their language!

No worries. Drug induced e... (Below threshold)

No worries. Drug induced erections will do that to your English. Makes it hard to type.

Found you, didn't he, Lee?<... (Below threshold)

Found you, didn't he, Lee?

Found you, didn't ... (Below threshold)
Found you, didn't he, Lee?

Beautiful, Synova. Just beautiful.

And Lee once again demonstrates the tragic consequences of not engaging brain before putting fingers to keyboard.

Lee, again, can't you see y... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Lee, again, can't you see you have become a punchline? Good God man, have you no pride? You had your ass handed to you a few times this week and still you show up for more.

Juan Williams wrote a piece about how this ruling is going to help the black community because now they will have to focus on achievement. 50% drop out rate for blacks, but the progressives want to stick with the status quo. ww

It seems, at least on this ... (Below threshold)

It seems, at least on this thread, Lee's strategy is appropriate for the upcoming holiday:

Light fuse. Get away.

Some of the school district... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Some of the school districts in our state are sweating out over this ruling. They have survived for years with exactly the type of diversity program talked about here. In fact, at one school we played in sports, they were relatively racially-balanced. Parents were unhappy though because minority students were bussed away from the high school to a school across the county because the school already had its quota of minority students. The education and facilities at the original school were exactly the same.

That's the kind of problem that this ruling is meant to address.

Segregation is bad. Bussin... (Below threshold)
kim:

Segregation is bad. Bussing is bad. Charter schools good.
=====================================

Kim, I agree with your firs... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

Kim, I agree with your first two positions, but I think if public schools would improve tremendously if there were more emphasis on the students' right to an education rather than on the students' rights to do as they please.

I also want the NEA (yes, I'm a member although I do not support its political bias) to establish disciplanary boards such as the Bar Association's. We must raise the standards--and maintain them--of our profession.

Finally, s neighborhood school can and should be a point of pride in a community where everyone can enjoy sports and cultural events and feel he or she belongs. I think that is far more important than any racial balance.

Maybe the money they save on busing can go towards improving the bulidings.

I visit these discussion th... (Below threshold)
Beeblebrox:

I visit these discussion threads once in awhile and have yet to see "Lee Ward" contribute meaningfully to any discussion. Now here, in this one, he is complaining about people not contributing to the discussion?! Whatever.

Back on topic, the liberal desire to social engineer using things like forced busing, hate speech legislation, bilingual education, income redistribution, open borders, etc. etc. etc. never ceases to amaze me given the total failure such policies demonstrably turn out to be.

They complain about our "failed Iraq policy" after just a few years of working at it (and one can debate if it really is a failure or just not the hollywood cinderella story the Libs seem to think fighting a war should be) yet they force their failed social engineering programs on the citizenry decade after decade and think (if one can use such a word about Libs) that just a little more money or a little more tweaking on their bankrupt policy will finally make it work. Amazing.

This is why Libs want to go all totalitarian on talk radio. Pointing out the sheer historical failure of modern liberalism cannot be tolerated. As long as they own all megaphones then they hope that no one will notice how their social engineering efforts have just made things worse.

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