The Supreme Court is hearing a case that could potentially overturn Brown vs. Board of Education. Here’s what you need to know.
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On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This landmark decision led to the integration of public schools across America and helped to break down some of the barriers of racial inequality. Fifty years later, many people believe that the principles set forth in Brown v. Board of Education are being eroded. In this article, we will examine some of the ways in which this may be happening.
The Brown vs. Board of Education Decision
On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling unanimously that racial segregation in public education violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In a second opinion issued on May 31, 1955, the Court ordered schools nationwide to desegregate “with all deliberate speed.”
More than 60 years later, though, schools are still segregated by race and economic status. And a new generation of conservative justices appears ready to reconsider the Browns’ legacy. In 2007, the Court heard arguments in two cases challenging the use of race-conscious measures to achieve integration in public schools. A decision is expected by June 2019.
Many legal experts believe the Court is poised to overturn or sharply limit its previous rulings on school desegregation, potentially dealing a major setback to efforts to promote racial diversity in public education.
The Trump Administration’s Position
The Trump administration has argued that desegregation policies have been “a failure,” according to a report released by the New York Times. The administration has also said that these policies are “resegregating” schools and creating “whiteflight.” The administration has not explicitly called for the overturning of Brown vs. Board of Education, but their position appears to be in line with that of conservative justices on the Supreme Court.
The Implications of Overturning Brown vs. Board of Education
On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, declaring that state laws requiring segregation of public schools on the basis of race violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Court’s unanimous decision overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine announced in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, which had justified state-sponsored segregation under the Tenth Amendment’s reservation of powers to the states.
The immediate effect of Brown was to outlaw segregated public schools; however, its ultimate impact was much wider. The decision helped spur acivil rights movement that culminated in the abolition of Jim Crow laws and other forms of racial discrimination. It also helped pave the way for integration of all facets of American society.
In recent years, there have been calls to overturn Brown v. Board of Education. Some argue that it was wrongly decided and that it goes against the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution. Others argue that it has not achieved its stated goal of promoting racial integration in public schools and that it should be overturned in order to give states more flexibility in addressing this issue.
Arguments for and against overturning Brown v. Board of Education are sure to continue as America grapples with its history of racism and strives to achieve true equality for all its citizens.
No, Brown vs. Board of Education is not being overturned. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the decision in a unanimous 2006 opinion. The case remains one of the most important civil rights decisions in U.S. history, and it continues to shape education policy today.