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James B. McMillan, a retired federal judge best known for his landmark 1970 decision in a desegregation lawsuit in North Carolina, has died. Judge McMillan died of cancer March 4 at his Charlotte, N.C., home at age 78.

His decision to impose court-ordered busing in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971, was the catalyst for busing plans in school systems across the country.

The decision came in a lawsuit filed in 1965, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, in which a black parent challenged the system that separated black and white students.

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