Michigan Public school system

A suit charging that the Detroit, Michigan public school system was racially segregated as a result of official policies was filed against Governor Milliken. After reviewing the case and concluding the system was segregated, a district court ordered the adoption of a desegregation plan that encompassed eighty-five outlying school districts. The lower court found that Detroit-only plans were inadequate. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the metropolitan plan. The case asked whether the federal courts had the authority to impose a multi-district desegregation plan on schools outside the Detroit area.


In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that “[w]ith no showing of significant violation by the 53 outlying school districts and no evidence of any interdistrict violation or effect,” the district court’s remedy was “wholly impermissible.” The Court noted that desegregation, “in the sense of dismantling a dual school system,” did not require “any particular racial balance in each ‘school, grade or classroom.'” The Court also emphasized the importance of local control over the operation of schools.


  1. Identify the constitutional provision that is common in both Milliken v. Bradley (1974) and Brown v. Board of Education (I) (1954).


  1. Based on the constitutional provision provided in part (A), explain how the facts of Brown v. Board of Education (I) (1954) led to a different decision than the decision in Milliken v. Bradley (1974).


  1. Explain how voters who disagree with the holding in Milliken v. Bradley (1974) could act to limit its impact.