United States v. Scotland Neck City Bd. Of Ed., 407 U.S. 484 (1972)

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Author: Justice Burger

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United States v. Scotland Neck City Bd. Of Ed., 407 U.S. 484 (1972)

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER, with whom MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN, MR. JUSTICE POWELL, and MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST join, concurring in the result.

I agree that the creation of a separate school system in Scotland Neck would tend to undermine desegregation efforts in Halifax County, and I thus join in the result reached by the Court. However, since I dissented from the Court’s decision in Wright v. Council of City of Emporia, ante p. 471, I feel constrained to set forth briefly the reasons why I distinguish the cases.

First, the operation of a separate school system in Scotland Neck would preclude meaningful desegregation in the southeastern portion of Halifax County. If Scotland Neck were permitted to operate separate schools, more than 2,200 of the nearly 3,000 students in this sector would attend virtually all-Negro schools located just outside of the corporate limits of Scotland Neck. The schools located within Scotland Neck would be predominantly white. Further shifts could reasonably be anticipated. In a very real sense, the children residing in this relatively small area would continue to attend "Negro schools" and "white schools." The effect of the withdrawal would thus be dramatically different from the effect which could be anticipated in Emporia.

Second, Scotland Neck’s action cannot be seen as the fulfillment of its destiny as an independent governmental entity. Scotland Neck had been a part of the county-wide school system for many years; special legislation had to be pushed through the North Carolina General Assembly to enable Scotland Neck to operate its own school system. The movement toward the creation of a separate school system in Scotland Neck was prompted solely by the likelihood of desegregation in the county, not by any change in the political status of the municipality. Scotland Neck was and is a part of Halifax County. The city of Emporia, by contrast, is totally independent from Greensville County; Emporia’s only ties to the county are contractual. When Emporia became a city, a status derived pursuant to longstanding statutory procedures, it took on the legal responsibility of providing for the education of its children, and was no longer entitled to avail itself of the county school facilities.

Third, the District Court found, and it is undisputed, that the Scotland Neck severance was substantially motivated by the desire to create a predominantly white system more acceptable to the white parents of Scotland Neck. In other words, the new system was designed to minimize the number of Negro children attending school with the white children residing in Scotland Neck. No similar finding was made by the District Court in Emporia, and the record shows that Emporia’s decision was not based on the projected racial composition of the proposed new system.

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Chicago: Burger, "Burger, J., Concurring," United States v. Scotland Neck City Bd. Of Ed., 407 U.S. 484 (1972) in 407 U.S. 484 407 U.S. 492. Original Sources, accessed September 19, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DKKVLGLBQ6DGE6X.

MLA: Burger. "Burger, J., Concurring." United States v. Scotland Neck City Bd. Of Ed., 407 U.S. 484 (1972), in 407 U.S. 484, page 407 U.S. 492. Original Sources. 19 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DKKVLGLBQ6DGE6X.

Harvard: Burger, 'Burger, J., Concurring' in United States v. Scotland Neck City Bd. Of Ed., 407 U.S. 484 (1972). cited in 1972, 407 U.S. 484, pp.407 U.S. 492. Original Sources, retrieved 19 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DKKVLGLBQ6DGE6X.