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Book Review: The Burden of Brown: Thirty Years of School Desegregation, 3 Yale Law & Policy Review 571 (1985)


Thirty years ago, the Supreme Court's decisions in the Brown litigation started the school systems of the United States on an "experiment" in race relations management, in the sense that Justice Holmes once called the First Amendment "an experiment, as all life is an experiment." The constitutional result of Brown is no longer seriously questioned; it seems clear now at least, as it seemed to most constitutional lawyers in 1954 and 1955, that separate school systems based on race, especially in the context of the open racial oppression by law in the states where dual systems existed, are not constitutionally tolerable under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. What is increasingly at risk is the Court's rationale for its decisions, as well as its theory (if any) of remedy.

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