Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History: May 17, 1954


5/17/1954: Brown v. Board of Education and Bolling v. Sharpe are decided.


NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: May 16, 1918

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  1. Not hard to imagine what side the VC would be on if it was 1954 and blogged on Brown.

    1. If they traveled back in time and wanted to please a large batch of their more progressive students they could just ask the Court not to bother since the students are just going to want segregation again eventually and so this business is just a waste of time.

      1. Amos, do you think judicially-mandated school integration was a waste of time?

        I don’t agree with capt about the VC, but I would be interested in a poll of the comentariat on whether they agree with the finding in a number of seminal cases.

        Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee
        Wickard (more for the lulz)
        Gonzales v. Raich
        Gideon v. Wainwright
        City of Boerne v. Flores

        1. Marbury
          McCulloch v. Maryland
          Mapp v. Ohio
          West Coast Hotel v. Parrish
          AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion

        2. If its judicially mandated yes. People should be free to associate with who they wish without interference from the state for or against any ideal be it white paradise or rainbow utopia.

          1. We tried that. Turns out, that actually ends up with a less free society.

            1. Spartacus tried freeing slaves. Guess we should have just given up after that.

  2. Heaven help me, but I think Black children got a better education in the segregated schools than they do today. In terms of educational outcome — ability to read, write, do basic math and such, they did better then than today under our soft bigotry of low expectations.

    1. Heaven help me, I am not shocked at where Ed – without actual data or evidence – comes down on this.

      1. I too think he’s wrong, but I don’t fuss abut his having no evidence while presenting no evidence of my own.

        1. You’re demanding evidence that black students are doing better now than the were pre-integration?! Even as you agree with me?

          The burden is on the guy challenging the status quo.

          1. That was a bit facile. But challenging Ed for lack of sources doesn’t mean I require sources of my own.

            2 seconds of Googling:

            In the North, we find that black graduates of predominantly white high schools are slightly more likely to attend college, and nearly twice as likely to be college juniors in three years, once differences attributable to social class and school district size have been removed. Apparently the important positive effect of attendance at a predominantly white high school is in reducing the college drop out rate for black alumni. We also found that black achieveiment test scores are noticeably higher in predominantly white schools. Once social class and district size-are controlled, we find that blacks in predominantly white schools score about one-half of a standard deviation higher than those in predominantly black schools. However, none of these differences appear in
            the South.

            As a bonus, it also addresses the assumed causality in nystateofmind’s post as potentially confounded.

            1. The problem with the necs (naep) data is that while they break it down on race and sex, they don’t on both. And for every Black male that goes to college, there are TWO Black females.

              And going to college does not mean graduating from it. Case in point is the University of the District of Columbia…

              It is a little bit more complicated than it appears.

              1. The study addresses both of those issues. Did you read it?

            2. There were excellent Black students during segregation as well. For example, there was Dunbar HS in DC — those kids got an excellent education (albeit segregated) and went on to be quite successful.

              But if 10% of Black students go to a predominantly White school (and I doubt it is that many) what about the other 90%?!?

              1. Anecdote, followed by completely misunderstanding the causality. And, of course, ignoring the moral elephant in the room.

                It’s not that merely being around a huge number of whites makes blacks smarter, ed…

      2. I think there is something to be said for the data presented by Eugene Volokh’s UCLA Law School colleague Richard Sander. Especially at collegiate level and beyond, affirmative action does a disservice to the communities it purports to help. While I disagree that it is entirely race related and more tied to economic opportunities, affirmative action cases are steered to better schools than their grades would indicate. When they inevitably struggle they are pressured to choose less demanding majors that don’t set them up for graduate school/higher paying jobs after graduation. Of course I also feel the same way about legacy admissions and going strictly by grades/test numbers. If one student had a 1300 SAT score coming from a school that would be lucky if it has a single student scoring over 1000 in a given year, that tells me something more about potential than the student who scored a 1400 but that score was 100 points lower than the typical minimum I would see from that school.

      3. Case in point, the Boston Public Schools. With much angst, they were desegregated by forced busing in the mid 1970s. 45 years later. are the grandchildren of the Black students who had been in segregated schools doing better than their grandparents? (For that matter, are their schools less segregated?)

        What bussing did is eliminate the White parents with children (they all moved to the suburbs), and while Boston still has a significant White population, it is all DINKS (Double Income, No kids). But there are still Black kids attending the BPS.

        And the BPS system is a MESS! It’s well funded because Boston is now a property (tax) rich community (which it wasn’t in 1975) but educational outcome is not good. Arguably worse than in 1975.

      4. ” Today, Boston’s schools are even more segregated than they were before busing began: 86 percent of its students are nonwhite and, as of the 2014-15 school year, 78 percent are low income. “

        1. So you would affirm Plessy? What would you do different?

  3. Just as the Constitution is silent on abortion and gay marriage, so it is silent on education. Plus, as with abortion and gay marriage, regulating education would have been understood by the framers to be a matter for the states. So I don’t see how the so-called originalists can have it both ways: If Roe and Obergefell were wrongly decided, then so was Brown, and for the same set of reasons.

    Yes, I know, there’s that pesky Fourteenth Amendment. But the 14th Amendment doesn’t mention abortion, gay marriage, or education. And if equal protection can be expanded to cover integrating schools — a result the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment almost certainly never intended — then how does it not also cover gays who want to marry or women who want abortions? Are they not entitled to equal protection under the law as well?

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