WASHINGTON (May. 10)
“Adoption of a constitutional amendment designed to halt busing or other desegregation measures would be a signal to the world that the American people had departed from the principles of freedom and equality,” a representative of nine national Jewish religious and civic organizations today told a House Judiciary subcommittee considering various anti-busing amendments. “The answer is to end segregation and improve the schools. Plainly, this has nothing to do with busing,” testified Albert E. Arent, a Washington tax lawyer who is chairman of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NCRAC).
Arent asserted that President Nixon’s proposed “moratorium” on school busing, coupled with federal upgrading of poor schools, “would be tragic, and probably illegal,” since “Our whole system of law would be undermined if courts were compelled to tell persons applying for redress: ‘Yes, your constitutional rights have been invaded. But we are barred from giving you effective relief.’”
‘FORCED BUSING’ IS RHETORICAL TRICK
NCRAC is convinced “that every group in our multi-cultural society–religious, racial and ethnic–is threatened when one is oppressed,” Arent said, adding: “They are convinced that enactment of any amendment to our Constitution curbing the power of the courts to deal with racial segregation would be a betrayal of the principles which this country stands for in the eyes of oppressed peoples throughout the world.”
Busing, he continued, “is a particularly effective tool for (desegregation)–which may well be why it is so vigorously opposed by former supporters of separation of the races.” Besides, he noted, “only a very small proportion–3 percent–of the total amount of busing is related to race.” The term “forced busing” is “no more than a rhetorical trick,” Arent charged, pointing cut that “No one describes the laws requiring children to go to school as forced school attendance laws.”