Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Old Fogey's Quotes on the School Integration Cases befor the Supreme Court

This is an issue that I consider very important to the well-being of our nation. Most of the quotes below are comments made during oral arguments yesterday about the school desegregation cases in Louisville and Seattle. These city's are defending their efforts to maintain racial diversity in their schools by using race as a factor in certain cases.

“One is that the Constitution puts a particular premium on avoiding express racial classifications.”
Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, before the Supreme Court
Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans
[Oh, really? The original document not only accepted the existence of slavery, but also counted only 3/5th's of African slaves in determining representation.]

“Here we have a society, black and white, who elect school board members who together have voted to have this form of integration. Why, given that change in society, which is a good one, how can the Constitution be interpreted in a way that would require us, the judges, to go in and make them take the black children out of the school?”
Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans
[It seems to me that conservatives want the federal government to stay out of local decision making--unless it is to further their causes. A little selective justice--no one seems immune to it.]

"What's constitutionally required one day gets constitutionally prohibited the next day. That's very odd."
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Court Weighs Race in Schools
[There is indeed a real irony that court ordered desegregation is now being overturned by the same courts that ordered it. At my university the federal courts ordered that specific plans be developed and implemented in order to increase black enrollment and faculty to a specified percentage. Then later courts ordered that we could not use racially based criteria. Huh?]

"The purpose of the Equal Protection clause is to ensure that people are treated as individuals rather than based on the color of their skin."
Chief Justice John G. Roberts. Jr.
Justices question school policies
[Strange that a strict-constructionist would use this argument, since all the evidence is that this clause in the 14th amendment was not meant to be applicable to public education at the time. Indeed, this point was made in arguing against the Brown decision.]

“Because segregation is harmful.”
Michael F. Madden, the Seattle district’s lawyer
Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans
[Let us not forget this! Legal segregation is indeed more detrimental, but all segregation has been proved not only to hurt minorities but also society as a whole. No one argued yesterday that diversity is not a worthwhile goal.]

"To get beyond racism, we must first take account of race."
Former Justice Harry Blackmun, writing in a 1978 case that allowed affirmative action in graduate schools
Balancing the races by racial edicts
[Few now doubt this was true in 1978, but some argue that it is no longer true--that we have evolved to the point we need to be a colorblind society. However, residential segregation causes the need for reassignment by race. Such segregation is largely the result of past, and still persistent, discrimination. Blind studies of real estate practices has made this clear numerous times.]

"It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race."
Chief Justice John Roberts, in a recent dissenting opinion
Balancing the races by racial edicts
[Maybe so, yet it is the lesser of the evils in current conditions. Color still plays an unofficial role, not only in real estate practices, but also lending decisions, law enforcement, and hiring practices. All of the factors contribute to the residential segregation that creates overwhelmingly minority schools, which have been shown to lower the performance of minorities.]

"We want better computers. No dripping ceiling. We have broken water fountains. We have mice. Our schools should be as nice as schools everywhere else in this city."
Brenda Bell, 15, a sophomore at DC's Ballou Senior High School
Youth Rally
[One piece of uncomfortable reality is that school quality is best in predominately white schools. Bad teachers have historically been dumped into minority schools, and most poor parents don't have the same political clout to lobby for better conditions. How is this "equal protection"?]


At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting collection of quotes, but I am with Judge Roberts on this one. Making judgements based on race is wrong, just because the people that get hurt are white, doesn't make it acceptable.


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