433 U.S. 267 (1977), 76-447, Milliken v. Bradley

Docket Nº:No. 76-447
Citation:433 U.S. 267, 97 S.Ct. 2749, 53 L.Ed.2d 745
Party Name:Milliken v. Bradley
Case Date:June 27, 1977
Court:United States Supreme Court

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433 U.S. 267 (1977)

97 S.Ct. 2749, 53 L.Ed.2d 745




No. 76-447

United States Supreme Court

June 27, 1977

Argued March 22, 1977




After this Court, in Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (Milliken I), determined that an inter-district remedy for de jure segregation in the Detroit school system exceeded the constitutional violation, and remanded the case for formulation of a decree, the District Court promptly ordered submission of desegregation plans limited to the Detroit school system. After extensive hearings the court, in addition to a plan for student assignment, included in its decree educational components, proposed by the Detroit School Board, in the areas of reading, in-service teacher training, testing, and counseling. The court determined that these components were necessary to carry out desegregation, and directed that the costs were to be borne by the Detroit School Board and the State. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's order concerning [97 S.Ct. 2751] the implementation of and cost sharing for the four educational components.


1. As part of a desegregation decree, a district court can, if the record warrants, order compensatory or remedial educational programs for schoolchildren who have been subjected to past acts of de jure segregation. Here the District Court, acting on substantial evidence in the record, did not abuse its discretion in approving a remedial plan going beyond pupil assignments and adopting specific programs that had been proposed by local school authorities. Pp. 279-288.

(a) "In fashioning and effectuating [desegregation] decrees, the courts will be guided by equitable principles," Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U.S. 294, 300, and, in applying such principles, federal courts are to focus on the nature and scope of the violation, the fact that the decree must be remedial, and the interests of state and local authorities in managing their own affairs. Pp. 280-281.

(b) Where, as here, a constitutional violation has been found, the remedy does not "exceed" the violation if the remedy is tailored to cure the "condition that offends the Constitution," Milliken I, supra at 738, i.e., Detroit's de jure segregated school system. Matters other than pupil assignment must on occasion be addressed by federal courts to eliminate the effects of prior segregation, United State v. Montgomery

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County Board of Education, 395 U.S. 225, and federal courts have, over the years, required inclusion of remedial programs in desegregation plans, when the record warrants, to remedy the direct consequences of dual school systems. Pp. 281-288.

2. The requirement that the state defendants pay one-half the additional costs attributable to the four educational components does not violate the Eleventh Amendment, since the District Court was authorized to provide prospective equitable relief, even though such relief requires the expenditure of money by the State. Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 668. Pp. 288-290.

3. The Tenth Amendment's reservation of nondelegated powers to the States is not implicated by a federal court's judgment enforcing the express prohibitions of unlawful state conduct enacted by the Fourteenth Amendment, nor are principles of federalism abrogated by the decree. P. 291.

540 F.2d 229, affirmed.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. MARSHALL, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 291. POWELL, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 292.

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BURGER, J., lead opinion

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.

We granted certiorari in this case to consider two questions concerning the remedial powers of federal district courts in school desegregation cases, namely, whether a District Court can, as part of a desegregation decree, order compensatory or remedial educational programs for schoolchildren who have been subjected to past acts of de jure segregation and whether, consistent with the Eleventh Amendment, a federal court can require state officials found responsible for constitutional violations to bear part of the costs of those programs.


This case is before the Court for the second time, following our remand, Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974) (Milliken I); it marks the culmination of seven years of litigation over de jure school segregation in the Detroit public school system. For almost six years, the litigation has focused exclusively on the appropriate remedy to correct official acts of racial discrimination committed by both the Detroit School Board and the [97 S.Ct. 2752] State of Michigan. No challenge is now made by the State or the local school board to the prior findings of de jure segregation.1

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In the first stage of the remedy proceedings, which we reviewed in Milliken I, supra, the District Court, after reviewing several "Detroit-only" desegregation plans, concluded that an inter-district plan was required to

"achieve the greatest degree of actual desegregation . . . [so that] no school, grade or classroom [would be] substantially disproportionate to the overall pupil racial composition."

345 F.Supp. 914, 918 (ED Mich.1972), quoted in Milliken I, supra at 734. On those premises, the District Court ordered the parties to submit plans for "metropolitan desegregation," and appointed a nine-member panel to formulate a desegregation plan, which would encompass a "desegregation area" consisting of 54 school districts.

In June, 1973, a divided Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, upheld, 484 F.2d 215 (CA6), the District Court's determination that a metropolitan-wide plan was essential to bring about what the District Court had described as "the greatest degree of actual desegregation. . . ." 345 F.Supp. at 918. We reversed, holding that the order exceeded appropriate limits of federal equitable authority as defined in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1, 24 (1971), by concluding that, "as a matter of substantive constitutional right, [a] particular degree of racial balance" is required, and by subjecting other school districts, uninvolved with and unaffected by any constitutional violations, to the court's remedial powers. Milliken I, supra. Proceeding from the Swann standard "that the scope of the remedy is determined by the nature and extent of the constitutional violation," we held that, on the record before us, there was no inter-district violation

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calling for an inter-district remedy. Because the District Court's "metropolitan remedy" went beyond the constitutional violation, we remanded the case for further proceedings

leading to prompt formulation of a decree directed to eliminating the segregation found to exist in the Detroit city schools, a remedy which has been delayed since 1970.

418 U.S. at 753.2


Due to the intervening death of Judge Stephen J. Roth, who had presided over the litigation from the outset, the case on remand was reassigned to Judge Robert E. DeMascio. Judge DeMascio promptly ordered respondent Bradley and the Detroit Board to submit desegregation plans limited to the Detroit school system. On April 1, 1975, both parties submitted their [97 S.Ct. 2753] proposed plans. Respondent Bradley's plan was limited solely to pupil reassignment; the proposal called for extensive transportation of students to achieve the plan's ultimate goal of assuring that every school within the district reflected, within 15 percentage points, the racial ratio of the school district as a whole.3 In contrast to respondent Bradley's

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proposal, the Detroit Board's plan provided for sufficient pupil reassignment to eliminate "racially identifiable white elementary schools," while ensuring that

every child will spend at least a portion of his education in either a neighborhood elementary school or a neighborhood junior and senior high school.

402 F.Supp. 1096, 1116 (1975). By eschewing racial ratios for each school, the Board's plan contemplated transportation of fewer students for shorter distances than respondent Bradley's proposal.4

In addition to student reassignments, the Board's plan called for implementation of 13 remedial or compensatory programs, referred to in the record as "educational components." These compensatory programs, which were proposed in addition to the plan's provisions for magnet schools and vocational high schools, included three of the four components at issue in this case -- in-service training for teachers and administrators, guidance and counseling programs, and revised testing procedures.5 Pursuant to the District Court's direction, the State Board of Education,6 on April 21, 1975,

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submitted a critique of the Detroit Board's desegregation plan; in its report, the State Board opined that, although "[i]t is possible that none of the thirteen `quality education' components is essential . . . to correct the constitutional violation . . . ," 8 of the 13 proposed programs nonetheless deserved special consideration in the desegregation setting. Of particular relevance here, the State Board said:

Within the context of effectuating a pupil desegregation plan, the in-service training [and] guidance and counseling . . . components appear to deserve special emphasis.

4 Record, Doc. 591, pp. 38-39.7

[97 S.Ct. 2754] After receiving the State Board's critique,8 the District Court conducted extensive hearings on the two plans over a two-month period. Substantial testimony was adduced with respect to the proposed educational...

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