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Dishonoring Martin Luther King

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The new Roberts-Alito Supreme Court has now quietly began finishing its new complete term. We shall see, in this term, as well as the many terms to follow, that this court is in the very serious business of dramatically changing the law that has existed for the last seventy years.

The most dramatic example this term will be the Courts rejection of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 case, perhaps the most significant case of the the 20 th Century. In that case, Chief Justice Earl Warren speaking for a unanimous 9-0 Supreme Court held that the law could be used to stop state sanctioned segregation; that it would reject the "separate but equal" doctrine and that the Courts could impose integration plans on state segregated southern and northern schools

The argument in two cases on December 4 2006, signified the end of the Brown era. Two cases, one from a Seattle School district and the other from the Jefferson County Board of Education in Louisville, Kentucky asked whether school boards could voluntarily take account of race to maintain a desired racial balance. After Brown we saw busing plans and pairings of white and black schools to try and achieve an integrated society. Then we saw school boards trying to maintain what busing and pairing had achieved. The question before the Court was whether these voluntary plans would be upheld.

The School Boards plans, attempting to achieve what Brown achieved, racially integrated schools should be upheld. But that will not happen; while Brown will not be reversed its intent will be rejected.

In my new book, THE NEXT TWENTY FIVE YEARS;THE NEW SUPREME COURT AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR AMERICANS, being published this week, I predict that the Supreme Court will hold unconstitutional the School Boards voluntary plan. The Roberts Court, in a 5-4 decision, will find that Brown permitted the use of race to integrate state segregated schools but will not permit school boards to use racial standards to integrate segregated schools when the state is not the sole cause of the segregation.

The Roberts Court ruling not only will ignore the meaning of the Brown case; it also rejects the words of Chief Justice Warren E. Burger who wrote, "School authorities might well conclude, for example, that in order to prepare students to live in a pluralistic society each school should have a prescribed ratio of Negro to white students reflecting the proportion of the district as a whole." That is exactly what the Seattle and Louisville School Boards decided to do.

Roberts and Alito both vowed to uphold precedent. Neither they, nor Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy will follow the clear intent of the nine Brown Justices and Chief Justice Burger. As I shall show in future articles, if they can dispose of, and ignore Brown there is very little else they cannot reject.