Blog and Media Roundup
Reaction to Justice Thomas' concurrence
Reaction to Justice Breyer's dissent
Reaction to C.J. Roberts' opinion
Reaction to Justice Stevens' dissent
Reaction to Justice Kennedy's controlling concurrence
Opening thoughts (Parts I and II)]
Blog and Media Reactions to the school desegregation cases:
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (AP) has a list of major school segregation cases, including Keyes v. School District No. 1, Denver, "ruling that schools have responsibility to desegregate, even in districts where schools had not been segregated by law."
NYT: "Justices Limit Racial Decisions in Schools"
Washington Post: "Court Limits Use of Race to Achieve Diversity in Schools."
CNN's analysis, by Jeffrey Toobin, states the issues in the lede as "race, affirmative action and education." Segregation and desegregation are strikingly absent, since they are the core issue of the case. At the end, however, Toobin writes "This is going to rank with the great, important school desegregation opinions of the court's history, starting with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. This, of course, is one where the school districts were told they couldn't integrate their schools, so coming from the opposite direction."
Steve Benen (at Washington Monthly):
It's been a discouraging week at the Supreme Court. Over the last four days, there have been five major decisions, all of them 5-4 rulings, all of them victories for conservatives, and all of them backed by the same five-member majority (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy).
Today's ruling on school racial integration was probably the most disappointing of all.
Stevens' and Breyer's dissents (.pdf) are both worth reading. Their disdain for the majority is palpable.
Ultimately, of the five controversial rulings this week, Roberts wrote the majority opinion in three, and Alito wrote the other two.
I guess it's one of those elections-have-consequences moments, isn't it?
Scott Lemieux gives his first thoughts on the decision, including the stunning revalation that Thomas' dissent doesn't provide any evidence that the original intent of the 14th amendment was to prohibit race-based classifications for remedial purposes. "Strange; I'm sure he must have it somewhere and just hasn't gotten around to it!"
Archpundit thinks Kennedy's concurrence will be meaningless. I'm not sure--and I don't know if desegregation orders are necessary for his distinction to be applicable.
James Joyner: "The Supreme Court, in yet another 5-4 ruling, has decided that discriminating on the basis of race is not a Constitutionally permissible solution to race discrimination....The 14th Amendment rather clearly enjoins discrimination on the basis of race....In the present cases, the districts were trying to force integration of schools to remedy benign neighborhood settlement patterns." Aside from whether race-conscious integration plans should be considered "discrimination" (see the comments) under the parameters of the 14th amendment, I'm curious as to what is so "benign" about residential segregation? Is it not meaningful or significant that White people in the "post-racism" era still apparently want to live in largely segregated neighborhoods?
SCSU Scholars: "[T]hat sentence from the Chief Justice will be valuable when perhaps a better case comes before the Court."
ThinkProgress links to a study verifying that minority students learn better in integrated schools.
I cannot help but think about former Justice Thurgood Marshall, and his NAACP legal compatriots, and their joy on the steps of the US Supreme Court following reading of the opinion in Brown v. Board of Education, and what that decision meant for so many Americans who were, in that moment, lifted up. The joy on their faces, and the hope.
Today, all I am feeling is hollow — that this Supreme Court lifts up no one but those who think as they do, and that the rest of the nation, especially those who most need a hand up from the shadows of poverty and despair, are left on the sidelines whether or not they have been wronged.
Taylor Marsh: "Sometimes supposedly brilliant people are just book read individuals without any common sense or understanding of culture and the realities of real life."
Paul Horwitz: "Why is higher education a "unique context" in ways that elementary education is not, at least for purposes of this case? Courts usually speak in terms of the special expertise that universities have in deciding who shall be a member of the student body, among other questions; why do lower public schools not possess similar epistemic authority as compared to the courts?"
The Legal Defense Fund, its "where do we go from here" post, stresses that a five judge majority recognized that racial diversity is a "compelling interest". Also over there, posts by UVA Law Professor Jim Ryan (who predicts Kennedy's opinion will play a future role similar to Powell's opinion in Bakke) and Washington University Law Professor Samuel Bagenstos (exploring why Roberts' Van Alstyne-esque quote is a misguided solution to the problem). Bagnestos is one of the nation's foremost authorities on the legal aspects of the psychology of prejudice.
Jack Balkin: "The Parents Involved decision-- Swann Song or Bakke for our times?"
Liberty Papers asserts that the "the plain fact of the matter [is] that the 14th Amendment was clearly intended to make the Constitution colorblind." That's a lot of bluster for a position that even uber-originalist Clarence Thomas apparently hasn't be able to back up. There is little to no evidence that the 14th amendment was originally intended to set up a "color-blind" norm (which has no bearing on whether it is a good policy argument--or even, since I'm not an originalist, a good legal argument--but we should be honest about our positions).
The Progressive Pulse notes the poor outcome of color-blind student assignment plans in North Carolina at maintaining desegregated schools.
Too Sense: "Supreme Court Greenlights School Resegregation"
Rhymes with Right shows the dilemma nicely: "The problem is that Brown does not call for integration -- it calls an end to legally-mandated segregation. Indeed, "integration" of schools is not required by the Constitution and would, in most places, require an unconstitutional distribution of benefits and burdens based upon race of the sort banned under Brown to accomplish." That has the benefit of honesty--the plurality would hold that integration is unconstitutional, I would hold that it is quite constitutional and (to quote Kennedy) a "moral and ethical obligation."
Stereohyped: "Good News For White Parents In Seattle And Louisville: You Can Take Your Kids Out Of Private School Now." I can't really protest the snark, although in an ideal world I'd hope that White parents, too, would recognize and press for the benefits a racially integrated education provides.
Bitch, Ph.D flips out in the best sense of the word.