MILLIKEN v. BRADLEY

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
73-434
Petitioner 
Milliken
Respondent 
Bradley
Consolidation 
No. 73-435
No. 73-436
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners in No. 73-434)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners in Nos. 73-435 and 73-436)
(Argued the cause for the respondents in all cases)
(Argued the cause for the respondents in all cases)
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Facts of the Case 

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. This case was decided together with Allen Park Public Schools v. Bradley and Grosse Point Public School System v. Bradley.

Question 

Did federal courts have the authority to impose a multi-district desegregation plan on schools outside the Detroit area?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Milliken, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

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" and not justified by Brown v. Board of Education. 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.

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MILLIKEN v. BRADLEY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 23 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1973/1973_73_434>.
MILLIKEN v. BRADLEY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1973/1973_73_434 (last visited October 23, 2014).
"MILLIKEN v. BRADLEY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 23, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1973/1973_73_434.