Freeman v. Pitts, 503 U.S. 467 (1992)

Page:   Index   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next



FREEMAN et al. v. PITTS et al.

certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the eleventh circuit

No. 89-1290. Argued October 7, 1991—Decided March 31, 1992

In a class action filed by respondents, black schoolchildren and their parents, the District Court, in 1969, entered a consent order approving a plan to dismantle the de jure segregation that had existed in the DeKalb County, Georgia, School System (DCSS). The court retained jurisdiction to oversee implementation of the plan. In 1986, petitioner DCSS officials filed a motion for final dismissal of the litigation, seeking a declaration that DCSS had achieved unitary status. Among other things, the court found that DCSS "has travelled the . . . road to unitary status almost to its end," noted that it had "continually been impressed by [DCSS'] successes . . . and its dedication to providing a quality education for all," and ruled that DCSS is a unitary system with regard to four of the six factors identified in Green v. School Bd. of New Kent County, 391 U. S. 430: student assignments, transportation, physical facilities, and extracurricular activities. In particular, the court found with respect to student assignments that DCSS had briefly achieved unitary status under the court-ordered plan, that subsequent and continuing racial imbalance in this category was a product of independent demographic changes that were unrelated to petitioners' actions and were not a vestige of the prior de jure system, and that actions taken by DCSS had achieved maximum practical desegregation from 1969 to 1986. Although ruling that it would order no further relief in the foregoing areas, the court refused to dismiss the case because it found that DCSS was not unitary with respect to the remaining Green factors: faculty assignments and resource allocation, the latter of which the court considered in connection with a non-Green factor, the quality of education being offered to the white and black student populations. The court ordered DCSS to take measures to address the remaining problems. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding, inter alia, that a district court should retain full remedial authority over a school system until it achieves unitary status in all Green categories at the same time for several years; that because, under this test, DCSS had never achieved unitary status, it could not shirk its constitutional duties by pointing to demographic shifts occurring prior to unitary status; and that DCSS would have to take further actions to correct the racial imbalance, even though such actions might be "administratively awkward,


Page:   Index   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007