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Parents Involved In Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1. No Jim Crow, but…. Discrimination was technically illegal. http://depts.washington.edu/civilr2/slides/segregation/segregation_files/frame.htm. No Jim Crow, but…. Asian-Americans, African-Americans
“No person or persons ofAsiatic, African, or Negro blood, lineage or extraction shall be permitted to occupy a portion of said property or any building thereon except a domestic servant or servants who may actually and in good faith be employed by white occupants of such premises”
“No person other than one of the White Race shall ever be permitted to occupy any portion of any lot in said plot or any building at any time thereon, except a domestic servant actually employed by a white occupant of such building”
“No part of said property hereby conveyed shall ever be used or occupied by any Hebrew or by any person of the Ethiopian, Malay, or Asiatic race …excepting only employees in domestic service…”
Group of parents brought action against school district, challenging constitutionality of its “open choice” assignment plan, which used a racial integration tiebreaker. Upon cross-motions for summary judgment, the District Court, Rothstein, J., held that:
School District’s motion for summary judgment granted.
The Court of Appeals, O'Scannlain, Circuit Judge, held that the racial integration tiebreaker violated provision of Washington Civil Rights Act prohibiting a grant of preferential treatment in public education on the basis of race.
The District Court’s decision is reversed.
The School District sought a withdrawal of the Appeals Court decision and a rehearing.
“In light of the important and heretofore undecided state-law issues this case presents, we are of the opinion that “it is necessary to ascertain the local law of [Washington] in order to dispose of [this case] and the local law has not been clearly determined....” Wash. Rev.Code § 2.60.020. “[M]indful that ‘[c]ertification saves time, energy, and resources and helps build a cooperative judicial federalism,’ ” we have decided to certify to the Supreme Court of Washington that “a question of Washington law is involved in this case which may determine the cause and as to which there is no controlling precedent in the decisions of the Washington Supreme Court.”
The petition for rehearing is granted.
Prior to rehearing, the Appeals Court certified a question to the Washington State Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeals, held that where no published decision of either the Washington Supreme Court or the Washington appellate courts had yet construed the statute at issue, and the answer to the certified question was necessary to dispose of the appeal, a question would be certified to Washington Supreme Court as to whether use of a racial tiebreaker to determine high school assignments discriminated against, or granted preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public education in violation of the statute.
On acceptance of jurisdiction, the Washington Supreme Court, Chambers, J., held that the school district's “open choice” assignment plan does not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public education in violation of Washington's discrimination statute.
Reversed and remanded with instructions to issue injunction.
Upon the vote of a majority of nonrecused regular active judges of this court, it is ordered that this case be reheard by the en banc court pursuant to Circuit Rule 35-3. The three-judge panel opinion shall not be cited as precedent by or to this court or any district court of the Ninth Circuit, except to the extent adopted by the en banc court.
On rehearing en banc, the Court of Appeals, Fisher, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) school district had compelling interest in securing educational and social benefits of racial and ethnic diversity and in ameliorating racial isolation or concentration in its high schools by ensuring that its assignments did not simply replicate Seattle's segregated housing patterns,
(2) for purposes of determining whether district's plan was narrowly tailored to meet its compelling interests, district's fifteen percent plus or minus variance was not “quota”;
(3) district made good-faith effort to consider feasible race-neutral alternatives and permissibly rejected them in favor of system involving sibling preference, race-based tiebreaker and proximity preference;
(4) tiebreaker imposed minimal burden shared equally by all district's students and did not unduly harm members of any racial group; and
(5) plan included periodic reviews to determine whether racial preferences were still necessary to achieve student body diversity.
The District Court decision is again affirmed. The Parent’s appeal and file for certiorari, it is granted.
(1) parents had standing;
(2) allegedly compelling interest of diversity in higher education could not justify districts' use of racial classifications in student assignment plans, abrogating Comfort v. Lynn School Comm., 418 F.3d 1; and
(3) districts failed to show that use of racial classifications in their student assignment plans was necessary to achieve their stated goal of racial diversity.
The Appeals Court decision is reversed and the case is remanded.
“This case was remanded to us from the United States Supreme Court. See Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, ---U.S. ----, 127 S.Ct. 2738, --- L.Ed.2d ---- (2007).
In light of the Supreme Court's decision, we VACATE our opinion in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1, 426 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir.2005) (en banc), and REMAND to the district court for further proceedings.”
The case is still pending in the district court.
KEN LAMBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES
large firm of over 100 lawyers with nationwide and international offices
“The District is implementing a plan to upgrade south end schools which include Cleveland and Ranier Beach which are currently contain 90 percent students of color. However, even after improving the south end schools the students from the North are not likely to be knocking the doors down to get in”
photo by Sonia J. Stamm