Civil Rights Coalition Files Friend-of-the-Court Brief in Support of School Diversity

Media 10.10.06

Washington, DC – This afternoon the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) and its sister organization, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF), filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the school districts in two cases before the Supreme Court, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education.

“We are filing a brief in support of the school districts because we understand, as the nation’s largest civil rights coalition, the value and importance of diversity in public education,” said LCCR President Wade Henderson. “We know that schools teach more than just core academic subjects. They teach our children cultural and social lessons that enable them to function in an increasingly diverse society and empower them to learn for themselves about how we are the same, as well as how we are different.”

The Supreme Court’s decision in these cases could determine whether local school districts can continue to voluntarily consider race in school assignment plans in an effort to maintain diverse, desegregated learning environments for our children.

The LCCR/LCCREF amicus brief argues that school integration has been a central and essential part of national policy since the 1954 Brown decision, a policy reinforced by the declarations of presidents of both parties, acts of Congress, and decisions of the federal courts.

The full text of the amicus brief is available at Specifically, the brief:

  • Tracks more than three decades of support, across all three branches of government, for ending Jim Crow schools and providing students with a racially-diverse learning environment.

  • Cites social science research that underscores the important role desegregation has played with respect to the educational advancement of children.

  • Dismantles the legally unsound argument made by petitioners that voluntary race-conscious measures are unconstitutional, citing a well-documented legal history upheld by both lower courts and the Supreme Court.

  • Makes clear how ending diversity policies would be harmful to the economic and social well-being of the nation.

    “The Court’s decision in these cases will determine whether we preserve the great gains made possible by the landmark ruling in Brown or whether we will head down a path toward re-segregation of our schools,” said Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights Chair and LCCREF Board of Directors President William L. Taylor. “If you follow the petitioners’ absurd line of argument, school districts would be prohibited by courts from adopting voluntarily the same policies that courts commanded them to adopt only a short time ago.”

    Several members of the LCCR coalition have played, and continue to play, leading roles in the push to provide diverse, desegregated learning environments for our children, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU, MALDEF, and the NAACP. The LCCR/LCCREF friend-of-the-court brief was prepared with the pro bono help of Andrew Pincus and Carolyn Osolinik of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP and William L. Taylor.

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    The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition. Its sister organization, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, is the research and education arm of the civil rights coalition. For more information on LCCR and LCCREF, visit