Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, Board of Education of Oklahoma City (Petitioner), sought dissolution of the District Court-imposed school desegregation plan.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. District Court authority over school districts extends only until the districts in question have complied with the injunctions long enough to reasonably redress past segregation.
Issue. Should the desegregation decree be dissolved as of the time the SRP was enacted?
Held. Case reversed and remanded for further review.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist (J. Rehnquist) notes that the lower courts have been inconsistent with their definition of a “unitary” school system. Some courts defined unitary as meaning a district had removed all vestiges of segregation. Other courts defined unitary as meaning that a district has currently desegregated its assignment policies. It is clear that under the latter definition, a district may still maintain some vestiges of past discrimination.
J. Rehnquist further states that a District Court’s authority to enjoin a school district only extends to the point necessary for the district to remedy past discrimination to the extent practicable, as long as the district was making a good faith effort to remedy the situation.
Local control over the educational process affords citizens an opportunity to participate in decision-making, permits the structuring of school programs to fit local needs, and encourages experimentation, innovation, and a healthy competition for educational excellence.View Full Point of Law