The Open Era

You see where the line is between a good tennis player and an Immortal in the first round match between former No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Rogerio Dutra-Silva on the Philippe-Chatrier Stade at Paris’s Roland Garros the other day.

The Brazilian, a veteran player ranked in the top 100 won some excellent points and broke the 2016 champion to even the score at 4-4 in the third set, his last chance to make a serious stand in the first round of this year’s Internationaux de France, aka French Open. Djokovic broke right back, then held serve at 15 and that was that, three sets to nought.

It was a fine match, even as seen on TV, but nothing to write home about. Anyway we would not be writing home because due to certain circumstances involving the law firm of Jauvert & Jauvert, TAS can only provide some long-distance analysis this year, but never mind the details. The question here is: is the great Serb ace back?

The question is pertinent because every tennis commentator queried by Tennis, the voice of the American tennis establishment, says defending champion Rafael Nadal will repeat, on the rational theory no one can beat him. A non-scientific survey of the international sporting press offers the same consensus. Djokovic, one of the few able to beat Nadal, has been in a prolonged slump worsened by an elbow injury requiring surgery as the season began.

With the loss in five sets by 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka to a stubborn and solid Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Nadal has last year’s finalist out of the way. He is leading a tough and able Simone Bolelli by two sets when play is adjourned on Chatrier due to rain. The Italian is up 3-0 in the third, but these rain delays usually favor the champ, who uses them to recharge is fierce competitive drive.

And with the defection due to injury of Australia’s bad boy tennis genius Nick Kyrgios, he has one less of the up-and-coming young men to worry over. He has been in fantastic form, taking titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome to prepare his title defense. Like LeBron James on the basketball court, like Mike Trout (Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, you know what I mean) on the mound, Rafa Nadal is the King. At least on clay. In tennis, surfaces matter; the maestro, Roger Federer, has only one Coupe des Mousquetaires among his 20 Slam trophies.

Moreover, Federer, the Stan-da-Man of tennis in our era, is following last year’s strategy of sitting out the clay season the fresher to be on grass and during the North American summer hard-courts. (He won at Wimbledon, not at Flushing Meadows.) And Andy Murray is out, recovering from injuries that he hopes will be gone in time for the All-England in early July.

Injuries, age; recovery, youth. The beauty of this sport derives from the way it brings out the basics of life in stark simplicity. An individual sport, in which you are upfront and alone: you step up or you do not and there is no team to back you up — or a single star like LeBron James to bail out the team. It is, pace Andre Agassi’s famous quip, not like boxing; you do have to run and you cannot hide.

It is Nadal’s to lose this year, making it likely he will get an unprecedented 11th trophy in a single major tournament. His lean and hungry challengers have fallen short in the endurance tests that are unique to the Slam circuit, or succumbed under Nadal’s clay power game, designed, and perfected for the conditions produced by this surface (limestone and crushed brick, if you ever wondered).

So, not too much suspense here, though y’never know. American men have not done very well on clay in recent years, but Jared Donaldson won his first round match in five sets, showing good form, while Frances Tiafoe and Sam Querrey both have shots at reaching the second week; unfortunately they square off in the first round so only one will (maybe) do it. (Update: it goes to Querrey in three sets; Isner, before the rain, was up two against Tiafoe’s contemporary, Noah Rubin.)

On the women’s side, Venus Williams went down in the first round and her sister goes into action on Tuesday. They have two doubles titles here, Venus has never won the Coupe Lenglen, but Serena has done it three times. The defending champ, Jelena Ostapenko, lost her first round match on an injured foot. Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys easily got through to round two. They are best friends, there was a touching scene when Miss S. beat Miss K. at the final of the U.S. Open last September, real friendship. But still it is a lonely sport.

Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver returned to Roland-Garros 50 years ago, in the inaugural major of the Open era; “Muscles” prevailed over “Rocket” in the finals. He also took the doubles with his compatriot Fred Stolle. Outside the tournament, France was in some turmoil as the cultural revolt known as the May Events continued.

These have been the subject of rather dull retrospectives and remembrances for the past months; for all their charm, you have to admit the French have a predilection for editing their own history rather in the direction of fashion, which is annoying. The fashion is that in the grand scheme of things, the May Events were a Good Thing. As far as I can tell, their main effect was that the French stopped saying “vous” and also gave up on wearing ties and hats. For the past few years, they have been destroying their own grammar, abolishing the gender declensions that charmed (and tortured) students of their language.

The remembrance that came to my mind, perhaps by unconscious association with our Memorial Day weekend when we honor those who gave all for our freedom, was one that no one, to my knowledge, mentions in all the yak-yak. I had in mind a man named Maurice Grimaud. He was the police prefect of Paris, in effect the man responsible for security, and he was heavily handicapped by the fact that his forces were overwhelmingly outnumbered by the thousands of kids who had nothing better to do than skip class, block the entrances to the university so those who wanted to learn could not get in, and instead tear up the cobble stones of the old streets of the Latin Quarter and throw them at the cops, who exercised admirable restraint.

Grimaud, who died ten years ago after a long and distinguished career as a high civil servant, had put out the word that there was to be as little rough stuff as possible, which is why the “revolutionaries” had a field day and for the next half century have been able to compare themselves to the men women and children whom you see in Les Misérables, and who were mowed down by cannon and musket when protesting for actual real reasons, such as having nought to eat. In 1968, the enactors were bourgeois kids, playing at historical drama.

Detachments of CRS and gendarmes (police under military discipline but in this case under Grimaud’s authority) reinforced the Paris uniforms. These were for the most part working class and farm-region boys, young men who had served their country in the last years of the colonial wars and were not exactly impressed with tweed-wearing students who had avoided those bitter wars and had not grown up in the poverty that was still common in those years, yet had the gall to claim they spoke for the wretched of the earth. The young men working overtime to keep the city safe while others spouted verses from Mao and Trotsky must have wondered what future elites the country was going to have, but they kept their cool and, no doubt, had a sense of humor sorely lacking in the feverish brains of bourgeois Stalinists.

In one of the “iconic” photos of the time, the student leader Dany Cohn-Bendit is seen offering a mischievous grin to a stern looking gendarme (who on closer inspection is repressing a sly smile); this has gone down in history as a symbol of the “whole” “liberation” “movement” of the ’60s.

Cohn-Bendit was, in fact, one of the less ridiculous soixante-huitards (in English: hippies, or San Francisco Democrats). He was ferociously anti-communist; the Stalinists and Trotskyists hated him. They piggy-backed the protests he and his anarchist pals started against dorm restrictions on the university campus. But he himself knew he was using sex stuff to kick start the reverse potty training he gleefully wanted to spread all over society. This is why Charles de Gaulle, who was president at the time, referred to the events aschien-lit, dog s….

Dany said they were in it to oppose “imperialism” as well as dorm restrictions, meaning the Vietnam war. What did he know about the Vietnam war? He knew enough to admit, 50 years later, that even then he knew that in Vietnam, he would have ended before a firing squad. Instead, he has a seat in the European Parliament at Strasbourg. It is not clear what they do there, but they get nice perks.

As we know, the year 1968 began with a communist rampage in Vietnam. Known as the Tet offensive, it had as its objectives to shock public opinion in the U.S. and convince our “elites” the war was unwinnable; to hold territory long enough, in such provincial capitals as Hue, to mass-murder civic and intellectual leaders, as well as policemen, who might form the backbone of resistance to their imperialism; and to destroy the Viet Cong cadres in the South, whom the Northern Stalinists did not trust. Although American and South Vietnamese forces, despite taking terrible casualties, threw back the onslaught, these objectives were achieved.

Some commemoration. Better to remember that first Open tournament on the far west side of Paris, on a street named for Gordon Bennett, an American newspaper tycoon and, no doubt, a Yankee imperialist!

The post The Open Era appeared first on The American Spectator.

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A quick-thinking school bus driver | Turkeys and Trophies

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Amphibious Vehicles Are the Military’s Latest Tax Dollar Sinkhole

One of the worst symptoms of the paralysis in Washington and at the Pentagon has been the inability to correctly match weapon systems with current enemy threat capabilities. Hence the United States Marine Corps is set to announce the final winner between defense contractors BAE Systems and SAIC to build and field their new Amphibious Combat Vehicle, or ACV.

Or should we say the old Amphibious Combat Vehicle? Because after 46 years and tens of billions of dollars, the Marines are right back where they started with this technology, which leaves no one—except maybe the contractors feeding off this farcical routine—feeling very satisfied.

So how did we get here?

The naval campaigns in the Pacific theater of World War II were successful due to the capability of the Marine Corps to conduct amphibious assaults against Japanese-held islands. Following the war this capability was written into law via the National Security Act of 1947, which stipulated that the Marine Corps was responsible for the seizure of advanced naval bases.

In order to move from Navy ships to enemy-held territory, the Marines must be transported across a distance of water and rely on what is generally called a connector. Both the Navy and Marine Corps operate various connectors from ship to shore, while the job of the Marines is to fight their way into enemy territory. Marine connectors only carry one weapon: Marines. Step one is to take the beach.

During World War II, the Navy ships could move to within a few miles of the Japanese-held islands before loading Marines into connectors. But with the advent of ballistic missile technology during the Cold War, a new weapon made its debut: the anti-ship missile.

The idea is simple. If Navy ships are within range of an anti-ship missile, they risk being severely damaged or even sunk. The solution is standoff. The Navy ships must stay outside the effective range of the missiles or use defensive measures to shoot the missiles down. This forces the ships further out to sea and increases the distance the connectors must travel over the open ocean to transport the Marines.

The connector vehicle the Marines adopted in 1972 was the Amphibious Assault Vehicle or AAV. AAVs are stored in hollow lower sections of naval ships known as well decks, which can be flooded so the AAV can exit the aft end of the ship into the ocean. The vehicle moves through the water using two traditional water propellers and also has tracks similar to a tank in order to drive on land. The AAV can carry around 20 Marines, swim through the water at seven knots (nautical miles per hour; seven knots is eight mph for comparison), and has an advertised water range of approximately 20 nautical miles, which in reality is closer to five nautical miles.

But anti-ship missile technology advanced in the 1980s, and proved deadly in the 1982 Falklands War between Great Britain and Argentina as the British lost two ships* to French-built Exocet missiles. So the Marine Corps and Navy rewrote their doctrine to move their ships over the horizon to approximately 12 nautical miles.

This strategy necessitated a new connector vehicle. Marine amphibious doctrine requires a “swift introduction of sufficient combat power ashore.” If the AAV can only swim at seven knots and the ships are 12 nautical miles away, you are looking at close to a two-hour ride to the beach. Time equals distance divided by speed. For the Marines stacked like sardines in full combat gear in the sweltering troop compartment of the AAV, this bumpy two hours becomes a rather nauseating and incapacitating experience.

So work began in earnest on the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, or EFV, in the 1980s. It was designed with a powerful jet propulsion system that allowed it to plane above the water like a speedboat and achieve 25 knots, three times as fast as the AAV with a water range of approximately 65 nautical miles. Over the course of 20 years, more than $3 billion was invested in the program. Operational EFVs were due to be in service by 2015, completely replacing the aging AAVs.

But potential adversaries didn’t stagnate. They developed a defensive Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy. Waters around potential landing sites would be mined, and the range, speed, and lethality of anti-ship missiles enhanced significantly.

The increasing complexity of the operating environment did not go unnoticed. During the Obama administration’s first term, Undersecretary of the Navy Robert O. Work envisioned an either/or type of scenario for the future of amphibious conflict. Either Marines would land essentially unopposed as in Grenada in 1983 or the A2/AD posture of our enemies would be so preventative as to require a massive bombardment using long-range stand-off weapons like Tomahawk missiles and bombers to clear out anti-ship missiles and other defenses. Neither situation necessitated the use of a high-speed, heavily armored connector like the EFV.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates canceled the EFV program in 2011. Immediately afterwards, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Amos, decided to pursue the next iteration of troop connector named the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, or ACV. High speed on water remained a top priority as late as 2013.

After some research proposals were explored, General Amos decided in January 2014 that the ACV would be developed in a phased approach with a decreased need for speed on water. The ACV 1.1 was to be an off-the-shelf, armored, wheeled vehicle that met requirements for armor protection on land but would rely on connectors like the Navy’s Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC, aka Hovercraft) to move it swiftly from over the horizon at 40 knots to a few miles from its objectives, where it would then swim the last few miles. The LCAC has a large deck area that can accommodate several ACVs. Traditionally the LCAC would bring in heavy equipment like tanks or trucks after Marines secured a beach since the LCAC lacks armor protection.

The phased acquisitions approach was a tacit admission that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. The Marine Corps asked industry for a vehicle that offered protection first and then speed on the water at some point in the future.

The ACV 1.1 would not be able to self-deploy and swim from a ship like the AAV or EFV. The Marine Corps would buy a smaller number of the ACV 1.1, upgrade older AAVs and keep them in service until 2030, and research and develop ACV 1.2, a high-speed, fully amphibious vehicle.

But this solution appears to have been smoke and mirrors. In March 2015, Marine Commandant Joseph Dunford testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee concerning the program. He said industry might merge the ACV 1.1 and ACV 1.2 requirements together.

BAE Systems and SAIC were awarded $100 million each in December of 2015 to develop 16 test vehicles for ACV 1.1. And lo and behold, abracadabra, both company’s test vehicles could self-deploy and swim from a ship at, wait for it, seven knots—as fast as, you guessed it, the 1972 version.

Since the introduction of the AAV, almost 50 years have passed and many billions have been spent in research and development. And now the taxpayer will be footing the bill for a connector that holds fewer Marines than in 1972 (13 versus 20), swims at the same speed, and is more expensive.

The Marine Corps and industry are touting the fact that the ACV is under cost and ahead of schedule. The program is projected to cost $1.2 billion with 204 vehicles operational by 2020.

In October 2017, deputy Marine commandant Lieutenant General Beaudreault stated that “we have to find a solution to getting Marines to shore, from over the horizon, at something greater than seven knots. We’ve got to have high-speed connectors.”

It appears the deputy commandant didn’t get the memo. As the F-35 and USS Gerald Ford programs have shown, whenever the system wins, the warfighter and taxpayer lose.

*Story has been changed to reflect the British loss of one destroyer and one container ship during the Falklands War in 1982.

Jeff Groom is a former Marine officer. He is the author of American Cobra Pilot: A Marine Remembers a Dog and Pony Show (2018).

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Planned Parenthood “Chaplain” Is a Presbyterian Minister?

This story is painful to write since this writer grew up in the Presbyterian Church, which was considered THE church to go to. It was known as the church where ‘the best people’ attended. That of course came about since The York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., immediately became known as “The Church of Presidents” since President Abraham Lincoln faithfully attended every Sunday until he died on April 15, 1865.

The presidents following Lincoln worshiped in that church which is still there, at the same location where this columnist once visited.  My family attended North Park Presbyterian Church in Evansville, Indiana from the time I was a toddler. It was a little brick church in walking distance from our home. I was baptized there and graduated from the Cradle Roll Bible Class (with honors of course). Yep, I wore my first cap and gown when I was three.

We loved that church I grew up in. We could not imagine it with any other pastor than Rev. Addison Chapin, who had served as a missionary in Africa before becoming a pastor. With his little square mustache, he looked like a cross between Charlie Chaplin and Adolph Hitler, with a resonant deep voice that held everyone’s attention. That was in the days before microphones or sound systems.

It would have been unthinkable to imagine this church partnering with the world’s blasphemous thinking, tossing out morals, and embracing the most disgusting sexual excursions that could be thought up, and encouraging it.

The church eventually broke into two factions, Presbyterian USA which turned disgustingly liberal, and Presbyterian EPC which stands for Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the side that believes and preaches what the Bible says.

So it is the Presbyterian U.S.A. who has sold out to Satan and has partnered with Planned Parenthood, a billion dollar a year killing industry that tears apart little pre-born babies, limb by limb, who are simply inconvenient for the parents.

As for this ‘Presbyterian minister’ who has joined Planned Parenthood, it is especially distasteful to be forced, by tradition, to call this religious fraud, “The Reverend” Marvin Ellison who has turned his back on the God he pledged to serve by helping an abortion business in Portland, Maine that earns a fortune by horrifically killing little-about to be born babies.  We have heard of other locations where a minister “serves” at these places.

The Portland, Maine abortion factory was ‘blessed in God’s Name by “Rev.” Marvin Ellison. This pus bag wrote a column for The Press Herald, to defend his abortion advocacy. That Portland abortion chamber aborts babies up to 18 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy, long after they already have heart beats, brain waves, fingers, toes and their own unique fingerprints.

Their nervous systems also are formed and they can feel everything that touches them. They use a device that goes up into the womb, grips a little leg or arm, slice it off, then pull it out to go back in and do it with the other limbs. And these helpless babies SCREAM.

Indeed, one of the butchers who was new to the job, bragged to impress the others, that she slit the throats of the babies so they could not scream. So what did she expect, for her audience to yell BRAVO? Probably.

Micaiah Bilger writing for the newspaper in Augusta, Maine, said that the impostor ‘minister’ described Planned Parenthood’s work as, now get this, “Life Affirming.” Are they all mad?

That gastric accumulation that calls himself “a man of God,” went on to flatulate; “We’re proud to be part of a highly professional and highly caring health care team,” he said of himself and four other volunteer chaplains.”Along with our Planned Parenthood colleagues, we’re committed to showing care and respect for the whole person, including her (or his) physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.”

It gets even nuttier as Ellison sputtered on that he is an abortion supporter because of his Christian faith and values. How’s that again?Then that pile of food that has been eaten and dispelled from the body, then bragged about his influence on patients’ religious views.

Recently Ellison and other “chaplains” hosted a service to bless the Planned Parenthood abortion facility. And Ellison and the other fake chaplains will have to explain all this to God at the White Throne Judgment which they all are facing. How I would like to be there to witness this as the trap doors open.

At that ‘blessings service,’ Ellison burped on by stating: “We believe in its mission (Planned Parenthood) and its life affirming values, As we said during the blessing, ‘We Thank God for Planned Parenthood and for the amazing work you do, day in and day out, with passion, courage, wisdom and grace.

“As chaplains, we recognize that planned Parenthood is called many names. Some of those names are hate-filled, disrespectful and terribly misguided. At the blessing, we concluded the event by saying, “Hear this loud and clear. In the name of all that is holy and good, Planned Parenthood your name is blessed. Each staff member is a blessing to this community and to those for whom you provide health care, education and advocacy. You are the blessing, and we thank God for you.”

These flattering words were flung out to embrace those who most cruelly murder little babies about to be born!  This is nuts!

For Marvin Ellison, that fake minister whom Satan himself ordained: Sir, it would be better for you to leave the ministry NOW, flee the ministry and stop dabbling with Holy things. You have no business handling any sacred objects.
Flee the corrupt ministry you head before it is too late. And this includes any misfits who hang out with you.  You are a mental case, making you and those who associate with you think that what you are doing is service to God. IT IS NOT!

Read the story of Molech in The Bible. There were idols in those days, made of brass in the shape of a being. The ignorant masses bowed down to to this Idol as if he were God. He was known as ‘the fire god.’ Babies and little children were brought to his brass idol, placed on the outstretched hands of it where flames embraced the children who screamed loudly. They were either burned alive, as a sacrifice to please Molech or fell between the outstretched arms to a roaring fire below.

And guess what? To drown out the screams of the innocent children who had done no wrong, they had drums and musicians playing to drown out the screams of the babies and children.

We are doing the same things today. And we have many distractions to virtually drown out the screams of the little babies being aborted.

I urge you who follow Ellison to get away from corrupt pastors like him, for the sake of your own souls. And anyone else who has a corrupt pastor like like that wretch, get out of that church immediately. There are many great Bible believing churches out there that can be found.

Since the beginning of this column many years ago, I have stated over and over that the world has gone to pieces due to the failure of the pulpits. Ministers have started flirting with the world, others being spotlighted in the newspapers for the wrong reasons. Yes, sin. Careless conduct, being irresponsible, having that drink, all tear down the image we should all have. Again, we are not supposed to be like everybody else.

Preachers have abdicated their leadership position in society by compromising the Word of God, watering down the sin problem, being caught in adultery, misappropriating money.

Since beginning this column years ago, I have stated over and over that the reason the world has gone so wacko is due to the failure of the pulpit. Pastors are not supposed to be ‘one of the guys,’ or he’s just like us.  We are NOT. We have been entrusted with a sacred appointment.

Let us carry that out with honor. Otherwise, preachers like Ellison will pull you down through that trap door with him.

LAST WORDS: Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion business in America, aborting approximately 320,000 babies every year. Now that is BABIES, not a fetus.

It’s most recent annual report showed a record income of $1.46 BILLLION for the ‘NON-PROFIT,” with about half a billion dollars coming from the taxpayers.

Any Christian who takes part in this barbarity will indeed go through the trap door and straight into hell. Christians are called to protect and defend the most vulnerable members of society, and today, no one is more vulnerable than a baby in his or her mother’s womb. Indeed, me must protect ALL of God’s living creatures. And Pastors: MAN YOUR PULPITS!

ANALYZING TODAY’S NEWS FOR TOMORROW’S HISTORY.

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Brown v. Board: the Real Story

Brown vs Board of Education

May 17, 1954 – Washington , District of Columbia, Thurgood Marshall (C) and fellow attorneys George Hayes (L) and James Nabrit rejoice outside the Supreme Court after the winning decision ruling out school segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education. (Credit Image: © Keystone Press Agency/Keystone USA via ZUMAPRESS.com)

May 17, 2004 marked the 50th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s famous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. This decision, which forbade racial segregation in schools, is now being celebrated as a historic act of justice and courage. Of the hundreds if not thousands of public officials and editorial writers who have celebrated this anniversary, practically no one has criticized the decision. In fact, there is much to criticize. Brown was certainly one of the most important Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century; it is necessary that we know what was wrong — dreadfully wrong — about how it was decided, and what it brought about.

First, the decision involved nothing less than collusion between one of the justices and his former clerk, who was handling the US Government’s arguments. One side of the case therefore had utterly improper inside knowledge about what every justice thought, and could craft arguments specifically to appeal to them.

Second, one of the key expert witnesses for desegregation — the only one singled out for praise in the ruling — deliberately suppressed research results that undermined his position. He certainly knew about these inconvenient results, because they were his own.

Third, because the Court could find no Constitutional justification for overturning the doctrine of “separate but equal,” it based its ruling on then-fashionable sociological theories. These theories were wrong.

Fourth, Brown was the first fateful step towards what we call “judicial activism.” The Supreme Court set aside its obligation to interpret the Constitution, and did what it thought was good for the country. It inaugurated an era of, in effect, passing new laws, rather than interpreting old ones. Judicial orders should never preempt law-making by elected representatives; republican government has been badly eroded by the process set in motion by Brown.

Finally, integration orders were among the most intrusive and damaging ever issued by American courts. Judges took over the most minute school-related decisions as if they were one-man school boards. Mandatory racial balancing — usually accomplished by busing — provoked white flight that in many cases left schools even more segregated than before. Beginning in 1991, the Court eased its requirements for mandatory busing, but by then it had already caused incalculable dislocation and had turned most big-city school districts into minority ghettos.

The final reckoning of Brown has yet to be made, but it is a ruling to be mourned, not celebrated.

How Brown Came About

Until Brown, the best known Supreme Court ruling on racial segregation had been Plessy v. Ferguson, handed down in 1896. This case involved separate railroad coaches for black and white travelers, and the court ruled famously that segregation was constitutional so long as the races were accommodated in a “separate but equal” manner.

Separate was not always equal, however. In 1930, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana spent about one third as much on each segregated black public school student as on each white student. South Carolina, the most extreme case, spent only one tenth. Whites justified this difference by pointing out that local taxes paid for schools, and that blacks paid far less in taxes than whites.

Spending on black schools increased rapidly in the 1940s and 1950s, often because of NAACP lawsuits insisting that if black schools were to be separate the Constitution required that they be equal. Many judges agreed, and throughout the old Confederacy there was a flurry of new taxes and bond issues to raise money for black schools. By the 1950s, the gap had been greatly narrowed all across the South, and in Virginia, for example, expenditures, facilities, and teacher pay were essentially equal in the two systems. Whites did not want to send their children to school with blacks, and were prepared to make considerable sacrifices to avoid doing so. Some within the NAACP wondered whether forcing the South to live up to the requirements of “separate but equal” would only make segregation permanent.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the Brown case, which was a direct attack on separate school systems, even if they were equal. It was a consolidation of five separate cases that had arisen in different states, and petitioned the Court to abolish segregated schools on the basis of the “equal protection” clause of the 14th Amendment.

It was impossible, however, to argue that the original intent of the 14th Amendment was to forbid segregated schools. The same Congress that passed the Amendment in 1866 established segregated schools in the District of Columbia, and after ratification two years later, 23 of the 37 states either established segregated schools or continued to operate the ones they already had. Chief Justice Frederick Vinson was particularly bothered by a Constitutional appeal that required the Court to recast the meaning of an Amendment.

During oral arguments in the case in December 1952, Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP therefore did not make a legal argument. His case rested on what came to be known as the “harms and benefits” theory, that segregation harms blacks and integration would benefit them. Justice Robert Jackson, who had been chief prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, complained that Marshall’s case “starts and ends with sociology.” He did not support school segregation but thought it would be an abuse of judicial power to abolish it by decree. “I suppose that realistically the reason this case is here is that action couldn’t be obtained from Congress,” he noted.

In fact, the sociology with which Marshall started and ended was weak. He leaned heavily on the work of Kenneth Clark, a black researcher known for doll studies. Clark reported that if he showed a pair of black and white dolls to black children attending segregated schools and asked them which doll they liked better, a substantial number picked the white doll. He argued to the Court that this proves segregation breeds feelings of inferiority. He failed to mention that he had shown his dolls to hundreds of blacks attending integrated schools in Massachusetts, and that even more of these children preferred the white doll. If his research showed anything, it was that integration lowers the self-image of blacks, but he deliberately slanted his findings.

John W. Davis, the lawyer who argued to retain segregated schools, pointed out that Clark’s conclusions contradicted his own published results in the Massachusetts findings. Davis later told a colleague that the ruling would surely go his way “unless the Supreme Court wants to make the law over.”

If the Court had decided the case immediately after oral arguments, Brown might have been decided the other way or at best, with a five-to-four majority that would have given it little authority in the South. It was at this point that Justice Felix Frankfurter, who was desperate to end segregation, assumed a key role. Faced with a bad legal case and justices who did not want to abuse their power, his strategy was to delay. He argued strongly that a decision on Brownshould be put off to allow time for an investigation of the original intent of the 14th Amendment and to let the new Eisenhower administration take a position. In the meantime, without telling the other justices, he told his clerk, Alexander Bickel, to ransack the history of the Amendment in the hope of finding something that would justify striking down segregation.

In June 1953, the Court put Brown back on the docket and invited the new administration to file a brief. Eisenhower’s people wanted to stay out of the controversy entirely, but unbeknownst to them an agent for Felix Frankfurter was working at a high level in the Justice Department. Philip Elman had clerked for Frankfurter, and was in constant communication with his old boss about Brown. He told the Solicitor General that a Supreme Court invitation to comment on a case was like a command performance, and he offered to handle the case.

Elman and Frankfurter both knew that back-channel communication was wrong. A party to a case is never permitted to have secret discussions with a judge who will decide his case. In a long 1987 article in the Harvard Law Review, in which he described in detail the collusion that went into the Brown ruling, Elman conceded that what he did “probably went beyond the pale” but, he added, “I considered it a cause that transcended ordinary notions about propriety in a litigation.” He wrote that he and Frankfurter kept an appropriate professional distance on all other cases, but made an exception for Brown. To them, ending school segregation was so important it justified unscrupulous maneuvering.

They talked at length over the phone and in person, referring to the other justices by code. William Douglas was Yak because he was from Yakima, Washington. Stanley Reed was Chamer, because it means dolt or mule in Hebrew, and Reed thought desegregation was a political and not a judicial matter.

In September 1953, something happened that completely changed the complexion of the Court: Chief Justice Frederick Vinson, a strong opponent of judicial activism, suddenly died. As Elman reports in the 1987 article, Frankfurter met him soon after in high spirits. “I’m in mourning,” he said with a huge grin. “Phil, this is the first solid piece of evidence I’ve ever had that there really is a God.” Elman writes that “God takes care of drunks, little children, and the American people” and showed His concern for America “by taking Fred Vinson when He did.” The new Chief Justice was Earl Warren, an ambitious former governor of California, who saw his job not as interpreting the Constitution but as a chance to exercise power.

In the meantime, Frankfurter’s clerk Bickel could find nothing in the history or intent of the 14th Amendment that could be used to order desegregation, so Frankfurter changed tack. He began to urge that original intent did not matter, and that the Amendment’s language should be reinterpreted according to the needs of the time. He reported to Elman that Warren and some of the other justices were sympathetic to this view, so not surprisingly, when the Justice Department filed Elman’s 600-page brief in December 1953, it too argued that the language of the Amendment was broad enough to be reinterpreted.

The reargument covered the same ground as before. Marshall trotted out the bogus doll studies again, while the Justice Department echoed Bickel’s view that the original intent of the 14th Amendment could be ignored. Frankfurter wrote long memos to the other justices insisting that the law must respond to “changes in men’s feelings for what is right and just.” This combination of arguments overcame the scruples of most of the justices who were reluctant to go beyond what they considered to be the limits of their authority. Jackson and Reed were the only holdouts. The former Nuremburg prosecutor refused to dabble in what he thought was a political rather than a judicial matter, and Reed, the chamer, argued that judicial activism was the beginning of “kritarchy,” or rule by judges.

At the end of March 1954, Jackson suffered a serious heart attack. Warren rushed to the hospital and got the weakened justice to agree to the opinion he had drafted. Then he cornered Reed, telling him he would be all alone if he did not go along. Reed, who never agreed with the ruling, bowed to pressure and joined the majority.

On May 17, Warren read the decision from the bench. Since there was no legal reasoning involved in it, he could keep it short enough to make the entire ruling fit into a newspaper article. The most often quoted passage is the following:

To separate [black children] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely to ever be undone . . . We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.

Warren admitted that he was interpreting the Constitution differently from every Supreme Court that had gone before:

“[W]e cannot turn the clock back to 1868 when the [14th] Amendment was adopted, or even to 1896 when Plessy v. Ferguson was written,” he argued. The point to be addressed was whether “segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other ‘tangible’ factors may be equal, deprives the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities.” His conclusion: “We believe it does.” As evidence, he cited Clark’s doll studies.

It should not require pointing out that whether segregation makes blacks feel inferior is not a Constitutional issue. Even if the evidence that segregation did have that effect had been solid — and it was not — it did not justify reinterpreting the Constitution.

Even liberals recognized that the Court was practicing sociology and not law. The New York Times, which welcomed the ruling, nevertheless gave its May 18 article the following sub-headline: “A Sociological Decision: Court Founded Its Segregation Ruling On Hearts and Minds Rather Than Laws.” The dean of the Yale Law School, Wesley Sturges, put it more bluntly. For the justices to rule as they did, he noted, “the Court had to make the law.”

Nor was Philip Elman’s behind-the-scenes role in the matter finished. The Constitution has been consistently interpreted to mean that the rights it grants are personal and require immediate relief. If segregation was unconstitutional it meant black students were entitled to integration right away. Frankfurter had explained to Elman that if this were what a desegregation ruling required, he could not be sure of getting unanimity, perhaps not even a majority. The prospect of the chaos such a ruling would cause would have pushed many justices into opposition.

It was Elman, therefore, who proposed the very unusual solution of separating enforcement from constitutionality. After the famous May 17 ruling, the Supreme Court sent the case back for further argument on how the decision should be implemented. It waited nearly a year, until May 1, 1955, to let the 1954 ruling sink in, before issuing another ruling on how to do what the Court ordered. It is here that we find the famous linguistic fudge: desegregation was to be accomplished with “all deliberate speed.” The South was going to have to abide by the Constitution, but it could drag its feet. “It was entirely unprincipled,” Elman wrote in 1987; “it was just plain wrong as a matter of constitutional law, to suggest that someone whose personal constitutional rights were being violated should be denied relief.” “. . . I was simply counting votes in the Supreme Court,” he added. Elman proposed a solution he concedes was “entirely unprincipled” because that was what it would take to get the ruling he and Frankfurter wanted.

In his article Elman also showed considerable contempt for Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first black appointed to the Supreme Court. He wrote that Marshall made bad, ineffective arguments, but that Elman’s collusion with Frankfurter had so rigged the Court in favor of desegregation, it made no difference: “Thurgood Marshall could have stood up there and recited ‘Mary had a little lamb,’ and the result would have been exactly the same.”

From Desegregation to Integration

The initial impact of the Brown decisions was, with a few exceptions, anti-climactic. The implementation order of 1955 applied only to schools that practiced legal segregation, and required only that they stop assigning students to schools by race. The targets were therefore only Southern schools, where there was little change, since most students stayed where they were. A few ambitious black parents enrolled their children in white schools, but no whites switched to black schools. There was dramatic resistance in 1957 to the arrival of even small numbers of blacks at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, but desegregation — the end of forcible separation of students by race — passed easily enough. It was the shift from desegregation to integration — the obligatory mixing of students to achieve “racial balance” — that convulsed the country.

In Brown, the Supreme Court endorsed the view that it was legally enforced, de juresegregation that damaged the minds of blacks; the justices said nothing about the de factoschool segregation that reflects residential segregation. However, as the 1960s wore on, and summers were punctuated by riots in New York, Rochester, Watts, and Newark, official thinking began to change. In 1967, the US Commission on Civil Rights issued a report called Racial Isolation in the Public Schools, in which it declared flatly that voluntary segregation was just as harmful as legally enforced segregation.

By now, almost all sociologists embraced the harms and benefits theory of desegregation, and endorsed the commission’s report rather than a much more thoroughgoing one that had appeared the year before. This was the now-famous Department of Health Education and Welfare study known as the Coleman report, officially titled Equality of Educational Opportunity. Sociologist James Coleman and his colleagues had fully expected to find that poor black academic performance was caused by inadequate school funding, and that integration brought black achievement up to the level of whites. They were surprised to learn that although there were regional differences — the North spent more money on schools than the South — within the regions school authorities were devoting much the same effort to blacks as whites.

Another surprising finding was that the amount of money spent on schools did not have much effect on student performance, and blacks who attended predominantly white schools did only slightly better than those who attended all-black schools. (Coleman later concluded that this small difference was not due to integration. The first blacks who attended white schools voluntarily were smart, ambitious blacks who would have done well in all-black schools.) These findings ran so contrary to ‘60s-era thinking that Coleman and his co-authors buried its conclusions, and the report became well-known only in retrospect.

In 1968, the Court adopted the more fashionable thinking of the Civil Rights Commission. In Green v. New Kent County, it ruled that race-neutral school policies were not good enough. At least for schools that had practiced de jure segregation, the “vestiges of segregation” had to be eliminated by race-conscious remedies and forcible integration. One likes to imagine the deliberations of our highest court conducted in Olympian calm, undistracted by mundane outside events. However, it may not be a coincidence that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated the day after oral arguments in Green, and the Court deliberated during the worst race riots the country had ever seen.

Still, every court order so far had been directed to schools in the once-segregated South. The rest of the country could look on in smug superiority as Southern whites battled busing, set up private schools, fled to the suburbs and, in some cases, even closed down public schools rather than submit to “racial balancing.” At least in the South, whites clearly did not like forced race-mixing, and would go to great lengths to avoid it. To the elites of the time, this was precisely the kind of prejudice busing was designed to cure.

It is easy to lose sight of just how radical a change the courts required when they shifted from desegregation to forcible integration. A movie theater, for example, is considered desegregated if patrons of all races can attend. Depending on location, some theaters may have patrons of mostly one race or another, but no one would think of controlling the flow of customers in order to achieve “racial balance.” This, however, was the effect of the new Court rulings. It was as if blacks and whites had to check with a central authority whenever they wanted to see a movie, and were directed only to theaters across town where they were sure to be a racial minority. Imagine the resistance to rules of that kind applied to restaurants, libraries, sports events, etc. It is not surprising that Southerners resisted busing.

The respite for the North was short-lived. In its 1971 ruling in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education the Court decided that if forcible integration was necessary to correct the damage racial separation caused to Southern blacks, it was equally necessary in the North, where residential and school segregation were often almost as pronounced. The Court made it clear that integration was to apply to every aspect of a school, including teachers, staff, extracurricular activities, attendance boundaries for schools and new construction. The judges chose schools as the institutions that would henceforth make up for the effects of voluntary residential segregation, and breed a new generation that would ignore race. Soon parents everywhere were faced with the prospect of putting their children on buses for lengthy rides across town so blacks could attend white schools and vice versa. Whites in the North set about with a will to achieve racial balance but found that, if anything, they disliked busing even more than Southerners did.

Wilmington, Delaware, made a particularly ambitious effort. Courts consolidated all city and suburban school districts — so that whites could not escape to nearby white school districts — and ordered every school integrated. This was to be done by racial mixing in neighborhoods if possible, and otherwise by sending whites to the inner city and inner-city blacks to the suburbs.

Wilmington worked very hard to prepare for what everyone knew would be a wrenching change. For teachers, the days of the three Rs were over: They would have to make children feel important, and teach them how to cooperate. White teachers had to learn “empathetic listening,” “values clarification,” and “consultation skills,” so they could handle black children. Altogether, teachers got a very confusing message: The classroom would integrate black children into the American mainstream, but it must not transmit oppressive, middle-class values.

Like other school districts, Wilmington learned that any racial balancing plan causes white flight, but some plans cause more than others. Shipping white children out of their neighborhoods to black schools was the worst. About half the white parents did not even wait to see what it was going to be like; their children disappeared to the far suburbs and into private schools, and never set foot in a black school. Most of the rest abandoned the experiment soon thereafter.

Blacks were less unwilling to come to white schools, but this did not lead to racial mixing. As one Wilmington reporter noted, “despite the massive effort to bring the races together, students and even teachers segregated themselves at lunch, in the hallways, and in the classrooms if they were given the opportunity.” Administrators also discovered “the tipping point.” A few blacks did not change the character of a school, but as their numbers increased so did racial tensions. “It was almost as if there was something magic — or hellish — when the black enrollment reached 40 percent,” recalled Jeanette McDonald, who was dean of girls at P.S. du Pont High School. “The black attitudes changed then, and the whites had reason to be frightened.” Blacks would begin to extort protection money from whites, graffiti would appear, windows would be smashed, lockers were looted, and refuse would accumulate. An all-white school would rapidly begin to turn black. Once most of the whites were gone, those who remained adapted to black dominance.

Before Brown, Wilmington public schools were 73 percent white. By 1976, after forced busing, they were 9.7 percent white. Furious whites were hardly mollified when Federal Judge Murray Schwartz, one of the architects of the busing plan, transferred his own children to private school.

Busing in Boston was perhaps more traumatic and disruptive than anywhere else. In 1967, the public schools were 73 percent white. The average black student, however, attended a school that was only 32 percent white, which means schools were substantially segregated. This reflected the fact that most blacks were clustered in Roxbury, in the southern part of town. Court-ordered busing came in 1974, but the mere rumor of it was enough to send whites to the suburbs. By 1973, white enrollment had dropped to 57 percent, and the average black attended a school that was only 21 percent white. Immediately after busing, which met more resistance and violence from angry whites than anywhere else in the country, the exposure to whites increased somewhat, but quickly dropped because so many whites fled. By 2002, the district was only 15 percent white, and the average black attended a school that was 11 percent white, a figure far lower than the 32 percent from pre-integration days (please see the figure on this page for a graphic representation of these changes).

The same drama followed forced integration in many big-city school districts. In Washington, DC’s public schools, for example, white enrollment was 48 percent in 1951. Ambitious federal judges ordered racial balancing even before the Supreme Court’s Green decision in 1968, so the city learned about integration early. Newly-arrived blacks at Theodore Roosevelt High School made so many obscene comments to the girl cheerleaders the school switched to boys. Several principals decided not to have dances or other social events because of lewd advances by blacks. Whites abandoned the public schools, and by 1974 white enrollment was down to 3.3 percent. Washington was the first major urban school district from which whites essentially disappeared.

A district that used to show solid performance sank to the bottom of the league. In 1976, one high school valedictorian scored only 320 on the verbal and 280 on the math SAT. These scores put the student in the 16th and 2nd percentiles for college-bound seniors. On the 25th anniversary of Brown, James Nabrit, a lawyer who had argued one of the first successful desegregation cases in the District, complained that despite huge, federally-funded budgets, the Washington schools had “drowned the courtroom victory in a sea of failure.”

This pattern was repeated across the country, if not always so dramatically. White enrollment in Chicago (Cook County) public schools was 65.4 percent in heavily segregated schools in 1969. By 1990, after mandatory racial balancing, the figure was 23.5 percent, and by 2000 it was 13.5 percent. The decline in New York City’s white enrollment during the same period was from 38.7 percent to 19.3 to 15.3 percent. In 1968, nearly 80 percent of the public school students in San Diego were white. By 2000, only 26.1 percent were white. In all such cases, especially in California, there would have been a drop in white enrollment as a percentage of the total simply because of the arrival of large numbers of immigrant children, but the overwhelming bulk of the decrease is due to white flight.

At the same time, racial balance began to consume a huge proportion of local education budgets. Districts that undertook full-scale integration campaigns soon found them swallowing up a fifth or more of the total budget.

Integration did succeed in increasing the amount of racial contact between black and white students, most obviously in the South, where legal segregation had kept the races entirely apart. However, initial gains quickly eroded as whites disappeared. In 1968, before court-ordered busing, the average black in a big-city district attended schools that were, on average, 43 percent white. Busing pushed that figure up to 54 percent in 1972, but by 1989 white flight had brought the figure down to 47 percent, just 4 points higher than in 1968.

The disappearance of whites caused so much dislocation in so many school districts that the Supreme Court finally began to notice. In a series of decisions between 1991 and 1993, the Court reversed itself, and ruled that schools should not be required to compensate for residential segregation. By the mid-1990s there were still “magnet schools” with desirable curricula deliberately put in black areas in the hope of wooing whites into integrated classes, but forcible mixing had largely come to an end. White enrollment leveled off in most school districts, once children could attend neighborhood schools that reflected local housing patterns.

Schools are therefore moving towards increased self-segregation. One measure of this trend is the percentage of non-white children who go to “racially isolated” schools, in which fewer than ten percent of the students are white. Between 1991 and 2001 that number increased in at least 36 of the 50 states. Thirty-five percent of black, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian students are now “racially isolated.”

During the same period, as integration requirements eased, nearly 6,000 public schools saw dramatic racial shifts, with 414 going from mostly minority to mostly white, while 5,506 shifted from mostly white to mostly minority. This means that within a 10-year period, one out of every 11 public schools (of the more than 67,000 in the whole country) changed markedly in racial character, generally coming in line with segregated housing patterns.

It should be noted that a school may be integrated but its students are not. Blacks and Hispanics often cluster in the remedial classes, with whites and Asians in the honors courses. Even those students who attend the same classes rarely fraternize across racial lines during lunch or recess. Self-segregation begins early and becomes more rigid as children get older. In high school, the only consistent exceptions seem to be among athletes, who may have real interracial friendships among teammates.

For the major big-city school districts, the end of busing came too late. Most whites now think of the public schools in places like Chicago, New York or Washington, DC as almost foreign territory. Even the neighborhood school is not a realistic option for their children. Whites may live in these cities when they are single or childless, but move to the suburbs for the schools. Previous generations of whites made big cities their permanent homes; among most whites today this is not an option for any but the wealthy, who can afford elite private schools, and the poor, who have no choice.

Few people mourn the end of busing. Whites rarely supported it, with about 65 to 70 percent of parents prepared to tell a pollster they didn’t want it. A substantial minority of blacks also opposed it: generally about 40 percent. In Chicago, the longer blacks were bused the less they liked it, with opposition rising from 48 percent in 1986 to 60 percent in 1990. At first, most blacks believed in the “harm and benefits” theory, but as the benefits failed to materialize they began to object to sending their children far from home. There has also been a resurgence of black pride and accompanying scorn for the idea that blacks must have white schoolmates in order to learn.

Even George W. Bush’s black Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, has shifted his emphasis away from integration. “Our goal is to make the schools better irregardless of the demographic makeup of the school,” he explains.

The Final Reckoning

Scholars have now had decades of school integration to study, and the results flatly contradict the sociological assumptions behind Brown. It is interesting to speculate how the justices would have ruled in 1954 or in the cases that imposed busing if they had known what we know now. In 1967, Federal Judge J. Skelly Wright reflected the prevailing view when he wrote: “Racially and socially homogeneous schools damage the minds and spirit of all children who attend them — the Negro, the white, the poor and the affluent . . .” He was wrong. Study after study has shown that segregation, whether de facto or de jure, does not lower black self-esteem. Black children consistently outscore white children on all standard tests of self image. (Such tests consist of questions like “Could you be anything you like when you grow up?” or “Do people pay attention when you talk because you have good ideas?” Scores on these tests generally match the assessments of people who know the test-takers.) What is more, just as Clark’s doll tests suggested 50 years ago, integration appears to lower black self-esteem, not raise it. The most commonly-given explanation is that it brings them face to face with a racial gap in academic achievement that refuses to go away.

Here again, the findings are consistent: The average black 12th grader reads and does math at the level of the average white 8th grader. This has been true — with slight, up-and-down variations — for 40 years. What is more, it is true whether black students have no, few, or many white classmates. Advocates of the “harm and benefits” theory have desperately resisted these findings, and journalists have hesitated to publicize them. However, as Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom make clear in their recent book No Excuses, many different approaches in many different school systems have failed to narrow the gap. They call this persistent difference in achievement “a national crisis.”

Nor does integration necessarily improve race relations. Results are not consistent, but increases in racial hostility are just as likely as decreases. A more fine-grained analysis shows that integration causes fewest problems at the youngest grades, but as children get older they become more conscious of race and increasingly socialize with people like themselves. The racial gap in academic performance — although it starts in pre-school — is not as striking in the lower grades, and is less a barrier to friendship. Likewise, when blacks start enrolling in formerly-white schools, race relations are best if the number of blacks is kept at 15 to 25 percent. Research has confirmed what teachers in Wilmington discovered after court-ordered busing: 40 percent is the point at which things often go seriously wrong.

Another consistent and related finding is that discipline problems increase as the number of black or Hispanic students increases (an influx of Asians does not have this effect). Theft, violence, and insubordination of all kinds go up as the racial balance changes.

The “harm and benefits” theory was wrong. Segregation does not damage black children, and the only discernible benefit of integration appears to be the moral satisfaction it provides its architects. The sociological basis for Brown was therefore unsound.

It is also clear that white parents were justified in opposing mandatory race-mixing. If the average black 12th grader performs at the level of the average white 8th grader, the parents of the average white 12th grader are right to think integration will lower standards and divert resources to remediation. They are also right to suspect it is likely to bring violence and disorder.

White flight is invariably dismissed as “racism.” However, the decline of white school enrollment reflected agonizing decisions unelected judges forced on millions of decent Americans. Do we keep our children in public school despite falling standards? If we move to the suburbs will we have to sell our house at a loss? If we stay, will we both have to work so we can afford private school? There have probably never been any other American court decisions with such a direct and unpleasant impact on the lives of so many people. It is doctrinaire to the point of callousness to disregard the sufferings of “racists” who rejected a social experiment in which they wanted no part, and did what they thought best for their children.

Brown and its sequels are some of the strongest proof of why judicial activism is so dangerous. The Constitution is silent on the question of segregated schools. Some states had them and others did not; it was a matter rightly left up to the deliberations of the people’s elected representatives. The Supreme Court forced a mute Constitution to speak, and in so doing made it speak gibberish.

From ratification until 1954, the Constitution permitted (though did not require) segregated schools. In 1954 it suddenly forbade legal segregation without requiring deliberate racial balancing. In 1968 it suddenly required race-conscious balancing, and in 1991 it decided not to require it after all. These changes were not the result of Amendments; they reflect nothing more than judicial decision-making so powerful and capricious that some have described it as tyranny. As Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes once noted, “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.”

Brown and what followed underline how different court rulings are from legislation. Legislation is a tedious, time-consuming process, that requires the agreement of many people. It involves trade-offs and compromises, drafting, redrafting, and public scrutiny. Many court rulings are taken on the authority of only one judge, and a Supreme Court decision requires just five. Courts are therefore far more likely than legislatures to veer off into treacherous, uncharted waters. Obligatory race-balancing was a colossal, expensive mistake that no state or national legislature would have made. Only the courts can completely ignore the will of the people, and force upon them policies their representatives would never enact.

As the Civil Rights Act of 1964 demonstrated, legal segregation was probably doomed. Sooner or later, legislatures would have desegregated schools without indulging in the fantasy that schools could remold Americans into race-unconsciousness. The country would have escaped the trauma of busing, and urban school districts would probably not now be wastelands.

Today, even some of those who cheered the loudest for Brown have second thoughts. Derrick Bell is a black lawyer and former Harvard Law School professor. During the 1960s, he worked for the NAACP, trying to short circuit the legislative process, arguing dozens of school cases before dozens of judges. By 1976, he had concluded that integration was a false goal and that blacks should have instead petitioned for the “equal” in the “separate but equal,” established in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson. “Civil rights lawyers were misguided in requiring racial balance of each school’s student population as a measure of compliance and the guarantee of effective schooling,” he wrote. “In short, while the rhetoric of integration promised much, court orders to ensure that black youngsters received the education they needed to progress would have achieved much more.”

This year, the 50th anniversary of Brown, Prof. Bell put the case even more bluntly. “From the standpoint of education,” he says, “we would have been better served had the court in Brownrejected the petitioners’ arguments to overrule Plessy v. Ferguson.” Practically no whites are prepared to say what Prof. Bell is willing to say: The Supreme Court made a mistake in 1954. This 50th anniversary should not be a time for celebration but for reflection on the dangers of unbridled judicial power and the persistent reality of race.

Editor’s Note: This essay is featured in Jared Taylor’s book, If We Do Nothing, available for purchase here.

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Why David Hogg’s ‘Five Point Plan’ To End Gun Violence Betrays His Ignorance

David Hogg is the go-to for the anti-gun zealots these days. He’s like their anti-gun zealot messiah, at least in their mind. They’re convinced that this kid can take them to the promised land of finally enacting gun control legislation in this country.

Unfortunately, their messiah is an idiot.

It’s not that he’s young that’s the problem. It’s that he’s ignorant, and that’s not an artifact of his youth. His schoolmate, Kyle Kashuv, is extremely well informed and educated on the subject of guns, and I believe Kyle is younger than Hogg, so clearly age isn’t the problem.

Instead, I think it’s been people feeding nonsense into the kid’s head, and he’s buying into his own press enough that he doesn’t know how little he knows on the subject. Take, for example, his five-point plan to supposedly end gun violence in this country.

Oh, let’s break this one down.

First, the CDC is funded to research into gun violence. What they’re not funded to do is conduct research designed to promote gun control. Gun research, however, isn’t forbidden. In fact, it happens at the CDC even today.

What no one should want is the CDC to take a political stance on an issue where research is involved. Let the research show what it shows and let policymakers argue about the rest.

Universal background checks are a thing, and it’s something that I fear we’re going to be saddled with sooner or later. However, you’re deluded if you think it’ll change anything.

Remarkably few gun sales are conducted without a background check in this country. The vast majority take place in gun stores with an FFL holder. Thus, background checks are taking place. The same is true with most gun show purchases which, contrary to media claims, are predominantly made with FFL holders. Thus, a background check is required.

Besides, Hogg and company have yet to show that an appreciable number of bad guys are getting their guns via face-to-face transfers.

His third point, digitization of ATF records is an interesting one. You see, this one troubles me for one simple reason. Once you digitize ATF records, you can then put them in a central database. At that point, in conjunction with universal background checks, you now have a firearm registry, which is illegal and something we all should be concerned about.

This is especially true in an age when it seems no data is secure. Do you really want bad people finding out who has guns in their community? That’s like publishing a list of which houses to rob when no one is home.

Nope.

Number four on Hogg’s list is an end to so-called “high capacity magazines.”

Well, if Hogg had actually been in the building where the Parkland shooting was taking place instead of safe and sound some distance away, he might have seen that a lack of high capacity magazines didn’t stop the killer from mass slaughter. All this will do is create an inconvenience for law-abiding people who don’t want to have to reload as often. That’s it. It won’t stop criminals. It won’t keep mass shooters from killing a lot of people. It won’t solve anything.

Last is his call for an assault weapon ban. Hogg seems to think that this will have some impact on crime. Well, we had an assault weapon ban for ten years, from 1994-2004. You know what happened?

Nothing.

Crime was already trending downward before the ban was enacted, and it continued downward at roughly the same rate. Mass shootings weren’t even impacted by the assault weapon ban.

The only purpose of an assault weapon ban is to make it difficult or impossible for law-abiding citizens to own a gun that some people are scared of. There was no impact on crime last time, and there won’t be an impact this time. Like it or not, gun-grabbers, the bad guys aren’t lining up to buy AR-15s. They want small, concealable handguns, not big old rifles, as a general rule.

So literally none of his solutions are nearly as workable and helpful as he likes to think, and that’s an artifact of pure, unadulterated ignorance.

Then again, if the kid weren’t ignorant, he wouldn’t be anti-gun in the first place.

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