Brown once again is proving controversial

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The five opinions that made up yesterday’s decision limiting the use of race in assigning students to public schools referred to Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 school desegregation case, some 90 times. The justices went so far as to quote from the original briefs in the case and from the oral argument in 1952.

All of the justices on both sides of yesterday’s 5-to-4 decision claimed to be, in Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s phrase, “faithful to the heritage of Brown.”

But lawyers who represented the black schoolchildren in the Brown case said yesterday that several justices in the majority had misinterpreted the positions they had taken in the litigation and had misunderstood the true meaning of Brown.

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  • Excerpts from the decision

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