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Killing Brown Softly: The Subtle Undermining of Effective Desegregation in Freeman v. Pitts

Bradley W. Joondeph
Stanford Law Review
Vol. 46, No. 1 (Nov., 1993), pp. 147-174
Published by: Stanford Law Review
DOI: 10.2307/1229237
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1229237
Page Count: 28
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Killing Brown Softly: The Subtle Undermining of Effective Desegregation in Freeman v. Pitts
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Abstract

Uncertainty continues to surround the issue of what steps a racially segregated school district must take to comply with the Equal Protection Clause of Fourteenth Amendment, as interpreted by Brown v. Board of Education. The Supreme Court's recent decision in Freeman v. Pitts expanded district courts' discretion in releasing school districts from court-ordered desegregation plans, allowing courts to withdraw supervision incrementally from individual areas of school district operations. In this note, Bradley Joondeph argues that such incremental withdrawal of supervision allows school districts to take measures that have a resegregatory effect on areas in which compliance has been achieved, and may therefore undermine the ultimate goal of court-ordered desegregation plans: eliminating the racial identifiability of formerly segregated schools. Mr. Joondeph suggests the Court instead should have endorsed an alternative system of "prophylactic" supervision that would maintain court supervision over all areas of school operations until each area has been successfully desegregated.

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