Breaking the Promise of Brown: The Resegregation of America's Schools (Stephen Breyer & Thiru Vignarajah eds., 2022).
Abstract: “A decision the Court and the Nation will come to regret.” Ten years ago, the United States Supreme Court struck down two local school board initiatives meant to reverse extreme racial segregation in public schools. The sharply divided 5-4 decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District marked the end of an era of efforts by local authorities to fulfill the promise of racially integrated education envisioned by the Supreme Court in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education. In a searing landmark dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer warned this was “a decision the Court and the Nation will come to regret.” A decade later, the unabated resegregation of America’s schools continues to confirm Justice Breyer’s fears, as many schools and school districts across the country are more racially segregated today than they were in the late 1960s. Edited and introduced by Justice Breyer’s former law clerk—and accompanied by a sobering update on the state of segregated schools in America today—this volume contains the full text of Justice Breyer’s most impassioned opinion, a dissent that Justice John Paul Stevens called at the time “eloquent and unanswerable.” The cautionary words of Justice Breyer should echo in classrooms across the country and in the hearts and minds of parents and schoolchildren everywhere.