(CBS/AP) The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected public school assignment plans that take account of students’ race.
The decision in cases affecting schools in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle could imperil similar plans in hundreds of districts nationwide, and it leaves public school systems with a limited arsenal to maintain racial diversity.
The court split, 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts announcing the court’s judgment. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a dissent that was joined by the court’s other three liberals.
It is the biggest school desegregation ruling in more than a decade, and was led by parents challenging the way race is used to assign students to schools for the purpose of integration, reports CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews.
The court heard arguments in December on cases from Seattle and Louisville that could affect hundreds of school districts across the nation.
Thursday’s session will likely be the justices’ last until October.
The Seattle School District used to use a race-based “tiebreaker” to assign some students to high schools in the interest of diversity. A parents group called that illegal discrimination and sued.
SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston, in explaining this ruling, calls it ‘historic.’
The high court also ruled today to block a mentally ill killer’s execution in Texas.