The Supreme Court: Discretion on De Facto


Are school boards constitutionally obliged to remedy school segregation caused by housing patterns? No, implied the Supreme Court last spring when it refused to review a lower-court decision permitting the Gary, Ind., board to ignore de facto segregation. Are school boards constitutionally empowered to remedy de facto if they wish to? Yes, implied the Supreme Court when it refused to review a decision last week by the New York Court of Appeals.

Unlike Gary, New York City's board of education had deliberately made pupils' race a consideration as it tried to "balance" a de facto school. It drew the...

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