Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974) was an important United States Supreme Court case dealing with the planned forced busing of public school students across district lines among 53 school districts in metropolitan Detroit. It concerned the plans to integrate public schools in the United States in the aftermath of the Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) decision. It placed an important limitation on the first major Supreme Court case concerning school busing, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1 (1971).
In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that "[w]ith no showing of significant violation by the 53 outlying school districts and no evidence of any interdistrict violation or effect," the district court's remedy was "wholly impermissible" and not justified by Brown v. Board of Education. The Court noted that desegregation, "in the sense of dismantling a dual school system," did not require "any particular racial balance in each 'school, grade or classroom.'" The Court also emphasized the importance of local control over the operation of schools.
This decision exempted suburban districts from assisting in desegregating inner-city schools. This decision reinforced the existing trend of "white flight" from cities to suburban school districts.
Justice Douglas' dissenting opinion held that:
"Today's decision ... means that there is no violation of the Equal Protection Clause though the schools are segregated by race and though the black schools are not only separate but inferior." (emphasis added)
"Michigan by one device or another has over the years created black school districts and white school districts, the task of equity is to provide a unitary system for the affected area where, as here, the State washes its hands of its own creations."
Despite the Court's decision in Milliken, court-supervised school desegregation plans were implemented regularly throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and remain in effect in a few U.S. cities and metropolitan areas as of 2004.
Full Text of the decision courtesy of FindLaw. (http://laws.findlaw.com/us/418/717.html)
Categories: U.S. Supreme Court cases | U.S. civil rights history | Equal protection cases | U.S. education case law | Fourteenth Amendment case law
Scotland Neck Board of Education, 407 U.S. (1972) (state or local officials prevented from carving out a new school district from an existing district that was in process of dismantling a dual school system); cf.
This and other financial limitations, such as those on bonding and the working of the state aid formula whereby suburban districts were able to make far larger per pupil expenditures despite less tax effort, have created and perpetuated systematic educational inequalities.
Although the list of issues presented for review in petitioners' briefs and petitions for writs of certiorari do not include arguments on the findings of segregative violations on the part of the Detroit defendants, two of the petitioners argue in brief that these findings constitute error.
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