Conservative Court Overturns Brown updated
Sometimes supposedly brilliant people are just book read individuals without any common sense or understanding of culture and the realities of real life. Today the Supreme Court proved just how far they're going to go to dismantle one of the most important cases ever settled in U.S. history: Brown v. Board of Education. This is a stunning ruling, with the court seemingly striking down Brown. Here is a description of the school plans that were in play. Here's the full opinion (large pdf).
Justice Stevens was blunt.
The Court has changed significantly since it decided School Comm. of Boston in 1968. It was then more faithful to Brown and more respectful of our precedent than it is today. It is my firm conviction that no Member of the Court that I joined in 1975 would have agreed with today's decision.
More from Stevens (see AdamB).
By way of contrast [to Justice Thomas], I do not claim to know how best to stop harmful discrimination; how best to create a society that includes all Americans; how best to overcome our serious problems of increasing de facto segregation, troubled inner city schooling, and poverty correlated with race. But, as a judge, I do know that the Constitution does not authorize judges to dictate solutions to these problems. Rather, the Constitution creates a democratic political system through which the people themselves must together find answers. And it is for them to debate how best to educate the Nation's children and how best to administer America's schools to achieve that aim. The Court should leave them to their work. And it is for them to decide, to quote the plurality's slogan, whether the best "way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."... That is why the Equal Protection Clause outlaws invidious discrimination, but does not similarly forbid all use of race-conscious criteria. Until today, this Court understood the Constitution as affording the people, acting through their elected representatives, freedom to select the use of "race-conscious" criteria from among their available options. ... Today, however, the Court restricts (and some Members would eliminate) that leeway. I fear the consequences of doing so for the law, for the schools, for the democratic process, and for America's efforts to create, out of its diversity, one Nation.
UPDATE: Christy over at FDL has much more.