On June 28, 2007, the Supreme Court 5-4 in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 eliminated the use of racial classification to avoid racial segregation in public schools. Its version of color blindness is to ignore the effects of past discrimination. The ruling is another indication that the two Bush appointees Roberts and Alito have no intention of honoring stare decisis (respect for precedent) which they swore to uphold at their confirmation hearings. It effectively undermines the 1954 landmark decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka by leaving school districts few or no options to address and prevent segregation or re-segregation in their educational systems.
The pattern of the Roberts court with respect to precedent is becoming clear. Using a majority of 5 conservative judges: Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy, the court has embarked on a course to overturn hallmark decisions like Roe and Brown, not by direct reversal but by dismantling them piece by piece until all the meaning in them is gone. It has also sought to roll back other laws and time elsewhere as well. In doing so, its reasoning has been remarkable for its inconsistency. This is Bush’s court and with Iraq it may well be his most enduring and pernicious legacy.