Center for Public Research and Leadership
Opposed for a decade by a hostile national administration,' faced with the prospect for decades to come of an unsympathetic federal judiciary,' and amidst declarations of the Second Reconstruction's demise,3 civil rights organizations have undertaken recently to rethink their litigation agendas.4 I have two motivations for offering some thoughts in support of that task. First, the civil rights community has requested the assistance of the academy in reshaping the community's litigation agenda and, in my case, in identifying "new strategies for implementing Brown v. Board of Education."5 Second, my analysis of the principal "old" strategy for implementing Brown, school desegregation litigation,6 leads me to conclude that it is the old strategy's capacity for political rather than educational reform that accounts for our legal system's partial embrace of that strategy.7 The old strategy's incidental enhancement of educational opportunity consequently is not available to significant numbers of educationally disadvantaged minority children. This Article accordingly fashions an answer to the call for "new" strategies for implementing Brown by finding in recent legislation a basis for a program of litigative reform that fills some of the educational gaps left by a politically focused reorientation of the principal "old" strategy for implementing Brown.
James S. Liebman,
Implementing Brown in the Nineties: Political Reconstruction, Liberal Recollection, and Litigatively Enforced Legislative Reform,
Va. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/467