446 U.S. 923 (1980), 78-671, Delaware State Board of Education v. Evans

Docket Nº:No. 78-671
Citation:446 U.S. 923, 100 S.Ct. 1862, 64 L.Ed.2d 278
Party Name:DELAWARE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION v. Brenda EVANS et al. ALEXIS I. du PONT SCHOOL DISTRICT et al. v. Brenda EVANS et al No.78-672
Case Date:April 28, 1980
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 923

446 U.S. 923 (1980)

100 S.Ct. 1862, 64 L.Ed.2d 278

DELAWARE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

v.

Brenda EVANS et al.

ALEXIS I. du PONT SCHOOL DISTRICT et al.

v.

Brenda EVANS et al

No.78-672

No. 78-671

United States Supreme Court.

April 28, 1980

Rehearing Denied June 9, 1980.

OPINION

On petitions for writs of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied.

Mr. Justice REHNQUIST, with whom Mr. Justice STEWART and Mr. Justice POWELL join, dissenting.

The three-judge District Court which initially found a desegregation remedy to be warranted, expressly found that 10 of the 11 county school districts had established fully unitary school systems after this Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686, 98 L.Ed. 873 (1954). Evans v. Buchanan, 393 F.Supp. 428, 437, and n. 19 (D.C.Del.), summarily

Page 924

aff'd, 423 U.S. 963, 96 S.Ct. 381, 46 L.Ed.2d 293 (1975). Only the school district in the city of Wilmington was found to have engaged in discriminatory conduct--conduct which the court did not find to be purposeful. [*] The court did find, however, [100 S.Ct. 1863] that the acts of other governmental entities resulted in an interdistrict violation. I think this Court should grant certiorari to review the District Court's imposition of this remedy, even accepting as settled the finding that there was an interdistrict violation warranting an interdistrict remedy.

One principle that has been continually emphasized in the desegregation opinions of this Court is that the "scope of the remedy" formulated by a district court must be tailored to fit "the nature and extent of the constitutional violation." Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1, 16, 91 S.Ct. 1267, 1276, 28 L.Ed.2d 554 (1971). In order to effectively fulfill this mandate, we have made clear that district courts must "determine how much incremental segregative effect [the constitutional] violations had on the racial distribution of the . . . school population as . . . compared to what it would have been in the absence of such constitutional violations." Dayton Board of Education v. Brinkman, 433 U.S. 406, 420, 97 S.Ct. 2766, 2775, 53 L.Ed.2d 851 (1977). Without such a finding, it would not be possible for a judge to fulfill the equitable limitations commanded by Swann.

In this case, however, the courts have ignored Swann and

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Dayton, and held that as a matter of law, no such findings were required. The District Court explicitly acknowledged that it did not apply this standard in adopting the remedy in issue. The court stated that it was "fully cognizant" that the submitted plans "were formulated without exacting consideration of whether they returned the Northern New Castle County schools to the precise position they would have assumed 'but for' the found constitutional violations." 447 F.Supp. 982, 1009 (Del.1978). The Court of Appeals on review again conceded that the District Court did not make the inquiry identified by Dayton but nevertheless found this omission excusable because Wilmington had previously been subject to de jure segregation.

This Court has never held that a remedy dismantling local education or devising a scheme of total racial balance is warranted simply upon a finding ofde jure segregation, and in fact, Swann held precisely to the contrary. Whatever the nature of the constitutional violation, the standard articulated in Dayton, as well as in the predecessors to Dayton, requires the District Court to impose changes in local education only to the extent necessary to cure the violation. The Court of Appeals' express departure from the precedents of this Court certainly warrants review.

Our cases indicate that the need for specific findings is particularly compelling when the district court seeks to impose a remedy curtailing local control of education. The District Court here has chosen such a remedy, actually abolishing the county's system of education and disenfranchising the voters who formerly retained popular control of education. This has been mandated even though no court has found that these local school boards have engaged in any purposeful discrimination since 1954. While on my assumption the absence of purpose does not negate the need for an interdistrict remedy in this case, the conduct of the boards is still relevant to the formulation of that interdistrict remedy. When the "nature of...

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