June 12th of 1995 marked a somber occasion in the annals of school desegregation litigation. On that day, the United States Supreme Court sent disturbing messages in its opinion in Missouri v. Jenkins. The Court's decision hinders achievement of the objective of school desegregation litigation—providing equal educational opportunities for African-American public school children—and detrimentally impacts other substantive areas of civil rights litigation. This article examines what I believe are several important general consequences of Jenkins's the impairment of a trial judge's discretionary equitable remedial powers; the Court's establishment of a new agenda that sacrifices the interests of African-American school children, the plaintiffs in equal education litigation; and how defendants in such cases are now rewarded for their failure to rectify constitutional wrongs. The Article begins by briefly reviewing relevant portions of desegregation jurisprudence. This review is followed by a summation of the action brought by the plaintiffs in Jenkins, and a discussion of the remedies selected by the district court. Finally, this article analyzes the general ramifications of the Court's decision.
Roberta M. Harding, At Loggerheads: The Supreme Court and Racial Equality in Public School Education after Missouri v. Jenkins, 2 Race & Ethnic Anc. L. Dig. 26 (1996).