Parents Involved in Community Schools Term Paper

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They argue that the U.S. Constitution is color blind and while conceding that racial diversity is a noble goal, seek to achieve it through 'race-neutral' means. They also insist on a level playing field for all American citizens, regardless of their race. Such arguments can be found in the concurring opinion of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas, who wrote a separate opinion endorsing the ruling. The liberals point out that the long history of slavery in the U.S., racial discrimination against the blacks, and the Jim Crow laws make it necessary that the Affirmative Action laws should continue in order to counter the social and economic disadvantages of the black community. They fear that the conservative insistence on 'equal opportunity' and a 'level playing field' is just another manifestation of the deep-rooted racism in American society. The dissenting opinions in this case, too, are largely based on such an underlying philosophy of the liberals.

Both sets of Judges, the conservative and the liberal, have also interpreted and relied on the Supreme Court's landmark decision Brown v. Board of Education (1955) in diametrically opposite ways, while citing it in their opinions. By quoting previous judgments of the Court, Justice Roberts argues in his opinion that the U.S. Constitution "protects each citizen as an individual, not as a member of a group"; that this fundamental principle goes back to the decision in Brown itself, which interalia states: "At stake is the personal interest of the plaintiffs in admission to public schools... On a nondiscriminatory basis." Justice John Paul Stevens, in his separate dissent, on the other hand, dubs the Chief Justice's reliance on Brown to rule against integration in schools, "a cruel irony" and laments that "no Member of the Court that I joined in 1975 would have agreed with today's decision." Similarly, Justice Breyer, in a dissent joined by the other liberals on the court, wrote that the plurality opinion "...undermines Brown's promise of integrated primary and secondary education that local communities have sought to make a reality. This cannot be justified in the name of the Equal Protection Clause." ("Parents Involved..." Find law)


The majority decision in Parents is an accurate reflection of the recent swing in the U.S. Supreme Court towards Conservatism. Nevertheless, it falls short of the full expectations of the right wingers, partly due to the 'swing' vote of Justice Kennedy, who despite endorsing the majority opinion in the case, has tried to soften its effect by writing a separate opinion, which keeps the door partially open for public schools to consider race for ensuring equal educational opportunity in certain circumstances.

Works Cited

Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 Et Al." No. 05-908. Find Law for Professionals. 2007. August 5, 2007.

Lieberman. Jethro K. "Supreme Court of the United States." Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. 2007. August 5, 2007.

This desire of the Presidents has not always worked according to plan: Justice Earl Warren, for example, who was nominated by President Eisenhower (a Conservative) turned out to be one of the most liberal judges in U.S. history

In the popular perception, Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito are the Court's "conservative" judges, while Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer are categorized as "liberal"; Justice Kennedy is generally considered as a "moderate conservative"

In Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) and Gratz v. Bollinger (2003), the Supreme Court had decided that race-based classifications must be directed toward a "compelling government interest" and must be "narrowly tailored" to that interest.

Justice Kennedy observes in his separate decision: "...a district may consider it a compelling interest to achieve a diverse student population. Race may be one component of that diversity, but other demographic factors, plus special talents and needs, should also be considered."

Justice Roberts observes in his majority opinion: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

Justice Thomas is the only black member of the Supreme Court but is well-known for his ultra conservative views

Court Case

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