Nation: Where the Law Stands Today

AMID the furor over the Stennis and Whitten amendments, the forced resignation of HEW Civil Rights Chief Leon Panetta and Senator Abraham Ribicoff's blistering attack on Northern hypocrisy, the nature and precise scope of existing U.S. law on race and the schools have largely been obscured. At issue are two sets of vital distinctions: the difference between integration and desegregation, and that between de jure, or governmentally imposed, and de facto, or accidental residential segregation.

The foundation of the law was laid in 1954 when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark...

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