Missouri v. Jenkins

PETITIONER: Missouri et al.
RESPONDENT: Jenkins et al.
LOCATION: University of Virginia

DOCKET NO.: 93-1823
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 515 US 70 (1995)
ARGUED: Jan 11, 1995
DECIDED: Jun 12, 1995

ADVOCATES:
John R. Munich - on behalf of the Petitioners
Paul Bender - on behalf of the United States, as amicus curiae, supporting the Respondents
Theodore M. Shaw - on behalf of the Respondents

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Missouri v. Jenkins

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 11, 1995 in Missouri v. Jenkins

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 12, 1995 in Missouri v. Jenkins

William H. Rehnquist:

I have the opinions of the Court to announce in three cases, the first is number 93-1823 Missouri versus Jenkins.

In this 18-year-old desegregation litigation we granted certiorari to review the State of Missouri?s challenge to orders by the lower courts requiring the State to fund salary increases for instructional and non-instructional staff within the Kansas City Missouri School District and to continue to fund remedial quality education programs because student achievement levels were still at or below national norms.

In an opinion filed with the Court today, we reverse the lower court?s decisions.

In a long line of cases, we?d held the nature and scope of a desegregation remedy has to be determined by the nature and scope of the constitutional violation.

The constitutional violation identified by the District Court in this case consisted of segregation and a reduction in the level of student achievement within the Kansas City Missouri School District.

Here however, the District Court ordered salary increases in part to attract non-minority students from outside the School District, because the scope of the constitutional violation was limited to the bounds of the Kansas City School District.

The District Court?s order of salary increases, which had the goal of attracting non-minority students from outside the School District, exceeded the scope of its remedial authority.

Similarly, we overturn the order requiring the State to continue to fund the quality education program.

In our case of Freeman against Pitts decided several years ago, we set out factors that a District Court must consider when deciding whether to order complete or partial relief from a desegregation decree.

The ultimate goal of the inquiry is to determine whether the constitutional violator has demonstrated a good faith, commitment to full compliance with the remedial decree and whether the vestiges of discrimination have been eliminated to the extent practicable.

The Court of Appeals reliance on the fact that student achievement was still at or below national norms at many grade levels is not an appropriate part of that standard.

Just as demographic changes independent of de jure segregation will affect the racial composition of student assignments, so too will numerous external factors beyond the control of the School District and the State affect student achievement.

Justice O?Connor has filed a concurring opinion.

Justice Thomas has filed a concurring opinion.

Justice Souter has filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer.

Justice Ginsburg has filed a dissenting opinion.