BOARD OF EDUCATION OF NORTH LITTLE ROCK ARKANSAS SCHOOL DISTRICT
Annotate this Case
454 U.S. 904 (1981)
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U.S. Supreme Court
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF NORTH LITTLE ROCK ARKANSAS SCHOOL DISTRICT , 454 U.S. 904 (1981)
454 U.S. 904
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF the NORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al.,
Robert J. DAVIS and Lorene Joshua
Supreme Court of the United States
October 13, 1981
On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.
Justice REHNQUIST, dissenting.
Both the Court of Appeals and the District Court have treated this as a school desegregation case, as indeed it is for substantive purposes. But in my view both the Court of Appeals and the District Court wholly failed to come to grips with the requirement that there be an Art. III controversy between the parties to the case before a federal court may either entertain it in the first instance or entertain additional proceedings in a case in which the requirements of Art. III at one time were met. It has always been my understanding that Art. III requirements are as important in desegregation
cases as they are in quiet title cases, Fair Labor Standards Act cases, and any number of other types of cases where federal-question jurisdiction may exist. I disagree with the decision of the Court to deny certiorari in this case because, whatever the merits of the dispute as to whether petitioners have or have not achieved a "unitary" school system, litigation to prove or disprove this fact must be conducted by parties who meet the "case or controversy" test.
In Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1, 32, 1284 (1971), the Court stated that "once the affirmative duty to desegregate has been accomplished and racial discrimination through official action is eliminated," there is no longer a constitutional violation which would enable the district court to entertain additional litigation in that particular case. Admittedly, school desegregation cases are often long and seemingly intractable; but as the Court said in Swann, supra:
"At some point, these school authorities and others like them should have achieved full compliance with this Court's decision in Brown I [Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)]." Id., at 31.
There is no doubt that a district court is at liberty to treat as a class action a suit filed for the purposes of attaining a "unitary" school system, but it is conceded that no class was ever certified in this case. As we said in Pasadena City Board of Education v. Spangler, 427 U.S. 424, 430, 2702 (1976):
"Counsel for the individual named respondents, the original student plaintiffs and their parents, argued that this litigation was filed as a class action, that all the parties have until now treated it as a class action, and that the failure to obtain the class certification required under Rule 23 is merely the absence of a meaningless 'verbal recital' which counsel insists should have no effect on the facts of this case. But these arguments overlook the fact that the named parties whom counsel originally un- [454 U.S. 904 , 906]