Saturday, December 7, 2013

Keyes v. School District No. 1 case brief

Keyes v. School District No. 1 case brief summary
413 U.S. 189 (1973)

Petitioner parents sought review of a judgment from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which partially ruled in favor of respondent school board in the parents' suit alleging de jure segregation in the Denver school system. The school board was not required to desegregate core city schools.

Although the district court found that the school board had engaged in an unconstitutional policy of deliberate racial segregation with respect to schools in the Northeast area of the city, the district court required the parents to make a fresh showing of de jure segregation in each area of the city for which they sought relief, including the core city area. The appellate court upheld this approach.

  • The Court held that both lower courts erred. 
  • The Court held that a finding of intentionally segregative school board actions in a meaningful portion of a school system created a presumption that other segregated schooling within the system was not adventitious. 
  • It established a prima facie case of unlawful segregative design on the part of school authorities, and shifted to those authorities the burden of proving that other segregated schools within the system were not also the result of intentionally segregative actions. 
  • This was true even if it was determined that different areas of the school district should be viewed independently of each other.

The Court modified the judgment of the appellate court to vacate instead of reverse the parts of the final decree that concerned the core city schools, and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.

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