Not unexpectedly, the Supreme Court concluded its Term with a decision which struck down so-called "voluntary" integration plans for school districts in Seattle and Louisville.
"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."
Maybe Stevens should step down because he's sounding a little addled. The Constitutional standard now is if judges from the original decision wouldn't have agreed with the current one, then jurisprudence shouldn't change with the times? I wonder if he would have applied this standard to the Plessy v. Ferguson or Dred Scott cases. After all, I'm certain those judges wouldn't have agreed with Brown.
The nutroots are in a tizzy. Take this Echidne of the Snakes post:
Put it this way: If I had a child denied access to my most preferred kindergarten, say, I would have very little trouble taking that imaginary child to another good kindergarten or a private school, and I'm not especially rich. But if I was stuck in a ghetto, with two jobs and little education, the slot in a good kindergarten for my child might be the only chance that child ever gets. Now put the two Echidnes in the story fighting each other in a court system for the same kindergarten slot. The SCOTUS says that the rich Echidne must win if the slot is in her backyard. Because she will be a victim of discrimination otherwise. The poor Echidne can just get a third job to pay for a private kindergarten slot.
It's a sad story, but it doesn't really work. In her own analogy, there are multiple "good" kindergartens. Isn't it possible for the "Poor Echidne" to put her child in one of the other "good" kindergartens? After all, that's the argument used by the liberals to uphold "voluntary" integration plans.
The problem is that "voluntary" integration plans aren't. They aren't voluntary for the parents, who get stuck sending their kids to schools far from home that they don't want. The "voluntary" part of "voluntary" integration plans are from the school district level...and they aren't the ones paying the price with their children.
It's odd when you read Echidne's response to questions. For example, it's seemingly acceptable for students to deal with the inconveniences and problems of "voluntary" integration, but she doesn't think integration has "done much."
I think the impact of the integration programs has not been a gigantic one, but I also think that they probably have had some impact. At least some minority students have had a better education through them, and some majority students have learned about how to live in a multi-racial society.
It's a silly argument, really. She has no studies backing up the idea that there's been "some impact," but it's ok because it's taught kids to live in an "integrated society."
I hate to break it to Echidne and liberals, but we live in an integrated world without "voluntary" integration plans. We don't have separate drinking fountains, seating, work sites, etc. It's silly to act like white people would never come in contact with minorities but for "voluntary" integration plans.
More wailing and gnashing of teeth here, here, and here.
Tom Goldstein warns against overreading this case (too late for the nutroots!) here.
UPDATE: E.J. Dionne cries in his beer here. My comment to all the haranging about the direction of the Court from the Left is: welcome to the world the rest of us have lived in for 45 years.
Cross-posted at Common Sense Political Thought.