446 U.S. 923 (1980)

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U.S. Supreme Court


446 U.S. 923


ALEXIS I. du PONT SCHOOL DISTRICT et al. v. Brenda EVANS et al
No. 78-671 No.78-672

Supreme Court of the United States

April 28, 1980 Rehearing Denied June 9, 1980.

See 447 U.S. 916.

In 1971, respondents in these cases instituted an action seeking the desegregation of the schools in the city of Wilmington, Del. The litigation has now culminated in a countywide remedy more Draconian than any ever approved by this Court. The order provides for the dissolution of the county's 11 independent school boards, most of which were locally elected. In their place, the District Court "created" a single countywide school system, to be run by court-appointed officials for five years. Within this judicial school district, which comprises in excess of 60% of all the public school students in the State of Delaware, every single student will be reassigned away from his or her local school for a period of no less than three years and for as long as nine years. The plan is designed to accomplish a racial balance in each and every school, in every grade, in all of the former 11 districts, mirroring the racial balance of the total area involved.

On petitions for writs of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied.

Mr. Justice REHNQUIST, with whom Mr. Justice STEWART and Mr. Justice POWELL join, dissenting.

The three-judge District Court which initially found a desegregation remedy to be warranted, expressly found that 10 of the 11 county school districts had established fully unitary school systems after this Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). Evans v. Buchanan, 393 F.Supp. 428, 437, and n. 19 (D.C. Del.), summarily-

Page 446 U.S. 923 , 924

aff'd, 423 U.S. 963 (1975). Only the school district in the city of Wilmington was found to have engaged in discriminatory conduct-conduct which the court did not find to be purposeful.* The court did find, however, that the acts of other governmental entities resulted in an interdistrict violation. I think this Court should grant certiorari to review the District Court's imposition of this remedy, even accepting as settled the finding that there was an interdistrict violation warranting an interdistrict remedy.

One principle that has been continually emphasized in the desegregation opinions of this Court is that the "scope of the remedy" formulated by a district court must be tailored to fit "the nature and extent of the constitutional violation." Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1, 16, 1276 ( 1971). In order to effectively fulfill this mandate, we have made clear that district courts must "determine how much incremental segregative effect [the constitutional] violations had on the racial distribution of the . . . school population as . . . compared to what it would have been in the absence of such constitutional violations." Dayton Board of Education v. Brinkman, 433 U.S. 406, 420, 2775 (1977). Without such a finding, it would not be possible for a judge to fulfill the equitable limitations commanded by Swann.

In this case, however, the courts have ignored Swann and- [446 U.S. 923 , 925]

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