Schools in the South and throughout the country are resegregating. Why is this occuring, and why were desegregation efforts limited in their success? This Essay argues that the Supreme Court is largely to blame. In a series of decisions in the 1970's, the Court ensured separate and unequal schools by preventing inderdistrict remedies, refusing to find that inequities in school funding are unconstitutional, and making it difficult to prove a constitutional violation in northern de facto segregated school systems. In a series of decisions in the 1990's, the Court ordered an end to effective desegregation orders. Lower federal courts have followed these rulings, and, in many areas, have ended remedies despite the likelihood that resegregation will follow. As Brown v. Board of Education nears its fiftieth anniversary, American public schools are increasingly separate and unequal. The institution that provided the impetus for desegregation and offered too much hope-the courts-is responsible for this failure.
Erwin Chemerinsky, The Segregation and Resegregation of American Public Education: The Court’s Role, 81 North Carolina Law Review 1597-1622 (2003)