Key Facts– The schools in this case chose to adopt student assignment plans relying on race to determine which schools children would attend. Parents sue, because their children were excluded from some potential schools solely based on race.
Issue– Can a public school system classify students by race and rely on that in making school assignments?
Holding– Only if necessary to correct past discrimination
Result– Racial classification plan overturned, lower court overruled
Reasoning– Only one of the two school districts discussed ever had a segregation program in the past. At present, its past segregation has already been remedied. There is no legitimate rationale for the present system that would survive the Court’s strict scrutiny. Further, the Chief Justice argues: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”