Thursday, June 28, 2007

Always Expect the Expected

(I don't normally do driveby blogging, but in this case I'll make an exception.)

In keeping with the rule to always expect the expected, America's highest court has just decided, by the 5-4 vote that everyone predicted once Samuel Alito was appointed to the Court, that to allow school districts to voluntarily adopt and implement racial desegregation plans for their students discriminates against little white boys and girls in violation of the Constitution. Thus, as of today, a white child's right to a racially segregated education to match his parents' choice to live in segregated neighborhoods in the states of Washington and Kentucky (and everywhere else) is again secure.

It only took 53 years.

Brown v. Board of Education is dead. (Even though the words "overruled" were apparently studiously avoided in the Roberts' opinion - oh well, at least Uncle Clarence didn't author it.) Long live Brown.

The details I will have to write about at some point but must go to work now and since I haven't yet read the actual decision. On the other hand, since my law firm was counsel for one of the amici trying to save the voluntary desegregation plans, I know what the arguments were. I also knew how they were received. So I can't say that I'm surprised. I'm not.

I'm not even depressed really. I'm at this point curious. Curious what our people are going to do now, that the last great legal myth about where we stand in this country as Americans vis a vis the white majority has been scrubbed away. This decision portends much for us, in terms of where we stand in this country. Particularly in light of other current events making clear that the idea that we and our people's needs are an irrelevant footnote. But there is much to think about, before writing too much. So I will read first, then comment more later (if work gives me the bandwidth, anyhow.)

(BTW, thank you, Alan Freeman (RIP) and Derrick Bell for teaching, as constitutional scholars who truly cared about anti-discrimination in fact and just not the appearance of it, law students the truth about the true legal significance of Brown -- and it wasn't that Black children had any constitutional right to an integrated education that outweighed what whites wanted for their children, despite Footnote 11 -- to those of us who actually wanted to understand it, instead of just believe in it as a beautiful cultural myth. It makes today's decision just a little less a slap in the face, expected or not.)


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