In deciding Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, the Supreme Court of the United States will likely confront a critical issue to emerge from the lower court opinions on voluntary integration plans: whether school districts that use race as a factor in student assignment must comply with a legal requirement of individualized consideration. The Court has imposed such a requirement in other contexts, but it has not clearly explained what the concept of individualized consideration means and why particular forms of it matter.

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