Missouri v. Jenkins 515 U.S. 70 (1995)

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MISSOURI v. JENKINS 515 U.S. 70 (1995)

inMissouri v. Jenkins, the Supreme Court considered once again the limits on the type of relief that a federal district court judge can order in a school desegregation case. At issue was an ambitious desegregation order requiring salary increases for teachers and staff in the Kansas City school district and the continued funding of an extensive remedial education program.

The Court, in a 5–4 decision, struck down this desegregation order, holding that it went beyond the scope of the constitutional violation it sought to redress. The Court, with Chief Justice william h. rehnquist writing for the majority, argued that the dominant purpose of the desegregation order was to attract nonminority students from outside the predominantly minority Kansas City school district and thereby to increase racial mixing in the Kansas City schools. The Court concluded that because the district court had found unlawful segregation only within the Kansas City school district, it did not have authority, in accordance with milliken v. bradley (1974), to fashion a remedy for the purpose of increasing interdistrict desegregation.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice david h. souter argued that district judges in school desegregation cases must have broad latitude to remedy the vestiges of segregation and to utilize remedies that may affect other school districts.

The decision reflects the Court's ongoing desire to end the era of judicial supervision of school districts and to return the control of schools to local officials.

Davison M. Douglas


Joondeph, Bradley W. 1996 Missouri v. Jenkins and the De Facto Abandonment of Court-Enforced Desegregation. Washington Law Review 71:597–681.

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Missouri v. Jenkins 515 U.S. 70 (1995)

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