Jewish groups blast Supremes on busing

Jewish groups lamented a Supreme Court decision that upheld a challenge to busing as a means to school integration. The American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League had filed friend of the court briefs against efforts to end programs in Seattle and Louisville, Ky. to end de facto segregation in areas where schools are situated in overwhelmingly white or black districts. On Thursday, the court upheld the challenges. “Today’s Supreme Court decision has the potential to undermine decades of work by AJC and others to achieve racial equality and diversity in American society,” said Jeffrey Sinensky, AJC’s general counsel. Both groups, as well as the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, noted the moderating role played by Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote was critical in the 5-4 decision. While he voted with the majority, Kennedy upheld the principle of promoting racial diversity, thereby preventing the ruling from turning into a sweeping ban on desegregation. The ADL called it “troubling” that four judges “filed an opinion that rejects the fundamental concept that the government has a compelling interest in promoting racial diversity.”

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