New York Law School

The Constitutionality of Teacher Assignment Plans After Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1: What Would Justice Kennedy Do?

This paper discusses the U.S. Supreme Court case Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 and the delicate holding issued by a plurality of the Justices, in which the voluntary school desegregation plans of Seattle and Jefferson County, Kentucky were struck down as violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Paying particular attention to Justice Kennedy’s enigmatic concurring opinion, this paper argues that the constitutionality of Jefferson County’s similarly administered teacher disbursement policy may have garnered five votes had the school district not settled the lawsuit against it. Perhaps more importantly, though, conducting the analysis highlights the apparent contradictions in and absurdity of the Court’s Equal Protection jurisprudence and the practical effect this has on efforts to combat the resegregation of America’s public schools.

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