Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cincinnati school desegragation case

Cincinnati Public Schools' efforts to ensure racial balance in its teaching staff have been ruled unconstitutional, striking down one of the last remaining vestiges of the landmark 1974 Bronson v. Board of Education school-desegregation lawsuit, reported earlier this week. (See Bronson v. Board of Education)

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott ruled, Tuesday, that Cincinnati schools could no longer consider race when making staff employment decisions, saying that both district policy and parts of its teacher union contract violate the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law. ( Perrea v. Cin’ti. Bd. Of Education )

Along with Bronson, Justice Diott relied on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2007 decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, stating that "This Court does not write on a clean slate in examining CPS's staff racial balance provisions. The Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit have analyzed similar affirmative action type programs adopted pursuant to school desegregation plans. Controlling Supreme Court precedents establish that all racial classifications must be subjected to strict scrutiny analysis. 'It is well established that when the government distributes burdens or benefits on the basis of individual racial classifications, that action is reviewed under strict scrutiny' (Parents, 551 U.S. at 720) … A plurality of Justices in Parents Involved, Chief Justice Roberts along with Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, further stated that racial classifications could not be used to achieve a goal of mere 'racial balance, . . . an objective this Court has repeatedly condemned as illegitimate.'"

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