Article About The Supreme Court Heard Argument On Monday In Two Important Cases And Information About Supreme Court Arguments, Racial Baggage, Law Schools, Law School Segregation And More.

More Info
									COURT REPORTER                                                                                     www.lawcrossing.com      1. 800.973.1177

[By James Kilpatrick]
The Supreme Court heard argument on Monday in two important cases. Ordinarily I would have been there to hear them. On Monday I stayed home.

Please forgive the first-person singular.        its segregated law school. Missouri’s famed       brief in Case 05-908. Counsel is describing
When I write about the school cases from         Journalism School was then as white as the        Seattle’s “open choice” plan for racial
Louisville and Seattle, I write from a           snows of Antarctica. From the J-School I          integration of its 0 high schools:
particular perspective. I am 86 years old. My    went to the old Richmond (Va.) News Leader
ancestral roots lie deep in the soil of 9th-    as a reporter.                                    “When a school district is oversubscribed,
century New Orleans. My grandfather served                                                         the district first admits siblings of
as a captain in the Confederate cavalry. He      This is all to explain why I stayed home on       enrolled students. In an effort to achieve a
owned slaves.                                    Monday.                                           predetermined racial balance in each school
                                                                                                   (40 percent white to 60 percent nonwhite,
In the early 900s, my father packed up all      As a cub reporter in Richmond 65 years ago, I     that being the ratio among all students
his inherited prejudices and took them with      adjusted instantly to the local mores. When a     in the district), the district next looks at a
him to Oklahoma City. He married a girl from     black person figured unavoidably in the local     school’s racial composition and uses race to
Kansas, sired three children, and went into      news, we acknowledged the fact in genteel         determine who will be admitted. A student
business selling bridge flooring, fence posts    parentheses: “John Rogers (c) was named           is deemed to be of the race specified in her
and railway ties. We had two black servants:     principal ...” After a while I became editor of   registration materials. If a parent declines to
Lizzie, who “lived on” in an apartment over      the editorial page of the News Leader, “the       identify a child’s race, the district assigns a
the two-car garage, and Nash, who came on        youngest editor of a major newspaper in the       race to the child based on a visual inspection
Mondays to do the laundry and stay overnight     South.”                                           of the student or parent. If the ratio of white
with Lizzie. We children loved them. And they                                                      to nonwhite pupils in an oversubscribed
loved us. I will get to Monday’s oral argument   Then came May 954, and the Supreme               school deviates by more than a set number of
in a moment.                                     Court’s unanimous opinion in Brown v. Board       percentage points from the desired balance,
                                                 of Education. For Southerners both black          then a student whose race will move the
I inherited my father’s inheritance. With it I   and white, a world that had been steadily         school closer to the desired racial balance
inherited all the racial baggage of a thousand   teetering was now a world turned upside           will be admitted, and a student whose race
years. It’s not easy to explain how people       down. In the name of “civil rights,” every        will move the school away from the desired
can be so intimate and yet so far apart. It      social institution known to my grandfather        balance will be denied admission. There is no
was an established way of life, as immutable     was about to topple -- hotels, restaurants,       individual consideration of applicants ...”
as the seasons and the tides. Black people       buses, trains -- and now our kindergartens!
(generally identified as “colored” and more                                                        From the grave, my grandfather asks: Who’s
formally as “Negroes”) had their jobs, their     When something comes along in the news            “racist” now?
churches, their foods and amusements.            like Monday’s argument in the high court,
We had ours. I went through Hawthorne            I look back upon those pre-Brown years            (Letters to Mr. Kilpatrick should be sent by
Elementary, Taft Junior High and Classen         with shame, embarrassment and something           e-mail to kilpatjj@aol.com.)
High School, and Lizzie and Nash were the        close to disbelief. We defenders of school
only black persons in my life.                   segregation were so very wrong! Legally           COPYRIGHT 2005 UNIVERSAL PRESS
                                                 wrong. Morally wrong. We should have been         SYNDICATE
I did not mean to get so autobiographical        devoting our energies not to better white
when I started this column. If you want to       schools and better black schools, but simply      This feature may not be reproduced or
read something else, go to it. In 94 I was     to better schools, period.                        distributed electronically, in print or
graduated from the lily-white University of                                                        otherwise without the written permission of
Missouri. It’s almost forgotten now, but the     The more things change, et cetera, et cetera.     uclick and Universal Press Syndicate.
university once fought fiercely to maintain      I read from the petitioners’ mind-numbing


To top