In a landmark decision that will affect school districts across the country, a deeply divided Supreme Court on Thursday struck down plans in Louisville and Seattle that assigned students to schools based partly on the color of their skin.
Writing for the 5-4 plurality, Chief Justice John Roberts said, "The school districts have not carried their heavy burden of showing that the interest they seek to achieve justifies the extreme means they have chosen -- discriminating among individual students based on race by relying upon racial classifications in making school assignments."
The Louisville case was brought by Crystal Meredith, who tried to enroll her 5-year-old son in kindergarten a couple blocks from their home in the Kentucky city. But officials pointed her elsewhere, to a school that was a 90-minute bus ride away.
A school that was closer to their home, officials told her, couldn't accept another white student like Joshua that year.
Meredith, a single mother, wasn't looking for a fight. After driving Joshua across town to school every day, she decided she'd bypassed the closer school long enough.
She sued and is now at the center of the most significant legal battle over race to reach the Supreme Court in years.
"Joshua was denied entrance to a school for no other reason than racial classification," said Teddy Gordon, Meredith's attorney. "There was room at the school. There were plenty of empty seats. This was a racial quota."
Meredith and other parents who sued the Louisville school district argued that the racial assignment plans amounted to unconstitutional race discrimination.
The school district contended that it wasn't discriminating against anyone, but instead was trying maintain racially balanced and integrated schools for the benefit of all.
The Louisville school district adopted its plan in 2001, and it requires schools to seek a black student enrollment of at least 15 percent and no more than 50 percent.
This is an excellent decision.
You want fairness. Stop seeking discrimination in the first place based on race!
Its as simple as that!
Under its plan, students could choose to attend any of the city's 10, four-year high schools unless they were "oversubscribed" with more students than the school can accommodate.
In that case, the school district looked at several factors when assigning students, including whether their race would contribute to a "racial imbalance" in the school.
A group of parents challenged the school district's assignment plan after their children were not assigned to the high schools of their choice.
The Bush administration has sided with the parents in both cases, arguing that race-based assignment plans violate the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
In court papers, Justice Department lawyers said the assignment plans involved "outright racial balancing," which is "patently unconstitutional."
Its funny because this plays out perfectly to another case recently in New York City.
In that case an INDIAN girl was complaining that she could not go to a School because she was a minority and was not able to go to the school because their racial quota was met.
A Brooklyn mother and father got the shock of their lives when school officials informed them their brilliant 11-year-old girl was denied admission to an elite public school - solely because she's of Indian descent.
"I feel bad because I would have gotten in if I was white," Nikita Rau lamented over her failed bid to attend the Mark Twain School, IS 239, in Coney Island, a magnet school for gifted students.
It turns out Mark Twain - unlike all but one other city public school - admits students according to racial quotas established in 1974 by a federal judge who ordered the school's desegregation.
If you are going to complain one way then complaints the other way should be allowed! NO? But if allow them then you are admitting that race discrimination is okay. Which it is NOT!