Ruling May Delay Nashville Classes
Associate Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens refused last Thursday to reverse a lower-court ruling that bars the Nashville, Tenn., school district from implementing a desegregation plan.
His decision--coming the day before schools were scheduled to open--has led to what local officials describe as a "chaotic" situation.
Justice Stevens rejected an appeal by lawyers of the Nashville Metropolitan County Board of Education to overturn a decision made last Wednesday by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the implementation of the school board's court-ordered plan to improve the racial mix in the area's public schools.
After an emergency session, a spokesman for the 68,000-student system said that if school board lawyers are unsuccessful in further attempts being made today to get the stay overturned, the Nashville-Davidson County schools will not open until September 14.
The Circuit Court's decision handed down Wednesday upheld a petition by the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund that contends the proposed plan would in fact resegregate parts of the school system.
Richard H. Dinkins, a Legal Defense Fund lawyer involved in the case, said his organization was opposed in particular to provisions of' the plan that allow for largely-segregated neighborhood schools at the elementary level and the closing of existing upper-grade schools in black neighborhoods.
Justice Stevens said the claims in the Legal Defense Fund's petition were of sufficient significance to uphold the lower court decision.
Vol. 01, Issue 00, Page 4