Justice Souter, concurring....
We recognize that although demographic changes influencing the composition of a school's student population may well have no causal link to prior de jure segregation, judicial control of student assignments may still be necessary to remedy persisting vestiges of the unconstitutional dual system .... This is, however, only one of several possible causal relationships between or among unconstitutional acts of school segregation and various Green-type factors. I think it is worth mentioning at least two others: the dual school system itself as a cause of the demographic shifts with which the district court is faced when considering a partial relinquishment of supervision, and a Green-type factor other than student assignments as a possible cause of imbalanced student-assignment patterns in the future.
The first would occur when demographic change toward segregated residential patterns is itself caused by past school segregation and the patterns of thinking that segregation creates. Such demographic change is not an independent, supervening cause of racial imbalance in the student body, and we have said before that when demographic change is not independent of efforts to segregate, the causal relationship may be considered in fashioning a school-desegregation remedy. Racial imbalance in student assignments caused by demographic change is not insulated from federal judicial oversight where the demographic change is itself caused in this way, and before deciding to relinquish supervision and control over student assignments, a district court should make findings on the presence or absence of this relationship.
The second and related causal relationship would occur after the
district court has relinquished supervision over a remedied aspect of
the school system, when future imbalance in that remedied Green-type
factor (here, student assignments) would be caused by remaining
vestiges of the dual system. Even after attaining compliance as to
student composition, other factors such as racial composition of the
faculty, quality of the physical plant, or per-pupil expenditures may
leave schools racially identifiable. (In this very case, for example,
there is a correlation in particular schools of overrepresentation of
black principals and administrators, lower per-pupil expenditures, and
high percentages of black students. Moreover, the schools in the
predominantly black southern section of the school district are the
only ones that use "portable classrooms,'' i.e., trailers.) If such
other factors leave a school identifiable as "black,'' as soon as the
district court stops supervising student assignments, nearby white
parents may move in the direction of racially identifiable "white''
schools, or may simply move their children into these schools. In such
a case, the vestige of discrimination in one factor will act as an
incubator for resegregation in others. Before a district court ends its
supervision of student assignments, then, it should make a finding that
there is no immediate threat of unremedied Green-type factors causing
population or student-enrollment changes that in turn may imbalance
student composition in this way. And, because the district court
retains jurisdiction over the case, it should of course reassert
control over student assignments if it finds that this does
Vol. 11, Issue 29, Page 24Published in Print: April 8, 1992, as Souter's Concurrence