THE SUPREME COURT: Presumption of Faith

Like nine other states since the Supreme Court's 1954 school-desegregation decision, Alabama enacted a pupil-placement law which by common agreement was designed to thwart integration. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Alabama's law—on its face—and provoked hopeful Southern punditry about having finally found a legal way around integration. The punditry was premature.

The Alabama law sets up 17 separate standards for assigning pupils to public schools. Nowhere is the question of race or color mentioned, but school boards obviously had a wide-open chance to preserve the segregation status quo in several placement qualifications, including: 1) "the psychological qualification of the...

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