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Case Basics
Docket No. 
William G. Milliken, Governor of Michigan et al.
Ronald Bradley et al.
(Attorney General of Michigan, argued the cause for the petitioners)
(argued the cause for the Bradley respondents)
(argued the cause for the respondent, District Board of Education)
Facts of the Case 

In _Milliken v. Bradley (1973) _, the Court ruled that an inter-district desegregation plan in the city of Detroit was impermissible and remanded the case to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The District Court ordered remedial education programs be instituted within the Detroit school district, and that the State of Michigan would bear half the costs of the remedial programs. The state of Michigan challenged the District Court order, which was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit.


(1) Can a federal district court order remedial education programs for students who had been subjected to segregation?

(2) Can a federal district court order the state of Michigan to bear some of the costs of the remedial programs without violating Michigan's immunity from suit established by the Eleventh Amendment?

Decision: 9 votes for Bradley, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

Yes and yes. In a unanimous decision, the Court affirmed the District Court order, emphasizing "equitable principles" in the construction of desegregation plans set forth in Brown v. Board of Education (1955) _. The Court relied on _United States v. Montgomery County Board of Education in that "matters other than pupil assignment must on occasion be addressed by federal courts to eliminate the effects of prior segregation" and numerous lower court decisions providing for remedial programs. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger asserted that the District Court order "does no more than" what was accepted in Ex Parte Young. The burden to eliminate the effects of segregation rested on state officials, consistent with Swann v. Charlotte- Mecklenburg Board of Education. Therefore, the District Court's order did not violate the Eleventh Amendment. Justice Thurgood Marshall authored a concurring opinion. Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. concurred in the judgment.

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MILLIKEN v. BRADLEY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 30 August 2015. <>.
MILLIKEN v. BRADLEY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 30, 2015).
"MILLIKEN v. BRADLEY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 30, 2015,