Monday, December 04, 2006

SF Bay Area Students, Communities Fight for Civil Rights and Educational Justice - Challenge the US Supreme Court

Photo from BAMN - March Dec. 4, 2006.
Students and community activists from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and all over the United States joined civil rights groups, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow/PUSH and many others to demand Educational Justice and Civil Rights at the steps of the US Supreme Court today.

“If the Supreme Court rules against affirmative action, it would be a ruling against the American Dream, and it would make the consideration of race, gender, or ethnicity illegal” said the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.
For the transcript of the Court's oral arguments from this morning - click here. Despite NY Times reporter Linda Greenhouse's prediction of the US Supreme Court's likely ruling in favor of conservative forces and the end of the Seattle and Louisville desegregation plans, students and activists are continuing their organizing for educational justice and civil rights.
By the time the Supreme Court finished hearing arguments on Monday on the student-assignment plans that two urban school systems use to maintain racial integration, the only question was how far the court would go in ruling such plans unconstitutional.
There seemed little prospect that either the Louisville, Ky., or Seattle plans would survive the hostile scrutiny of the court’s new majority.

Progressive UCLA Education and Law Professor Stuart Biegel, on the other hand, refuses to be pessimistic. Biegel was San Francisco's court appointed consent decree monitor who tracked the racial and economic justice progress of SF Schools over the years of the Consent Decree from 1983-99, and then the rapid resegregation following the court's barring the use of race/ethnicity in our desegregation plan from 1999 to the present. Biegel pointed me towards a fascinating article by Slate Legal Commentator Dahlia Lithwick on the Supreme Court case which concludes with the following on Sacramento-born swingman Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kennedy, in short, looks poised to do that thing he does—close the constitutional door to everyone but Elijah. He looks like he is about to write an opinion that says there is a compelling state interest in desegregating schools but that the systems in Louisville and Seattle give him the heebie-jeebies. ...He is officially waiting for the perfect facts before he decides environmental cases, racial gerrymandering cases, and possibly voluntary desegregation cases... He'll agree with the liberals in theory, agree with the conservatives in specifics, and nobody will know what to do about anything.
So, perhaps in the Springtime of 2007 when the court eventually publishes their legal opinion, there may be some political wiggle room for districts like San Francisco which is considering a new stronger desegregation plan which includes the limited use of race as one of a number of factors in our revised student assignment plan in the new year.

For more info on San Francisco's proposed desegregation plan and our Board's stance on educational justice - see

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now the expectation is that the supreme's decision will be coming down in the summertime.