12 Duke J. Const. L. & Pub. Pol'y 1 (2016-2017)

handle is hein.journals/dukpup12 and id is 1 raw text is: 










LEE V. MACON COUNTY BOARD OF
   EDUCATION: THE POSSIBILITIES
   OF FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT OF
           EQUAL EDUCATIONAL
                   OPPORTUNITY

                     BRIAN  K. LANDSBERGt


                           ABSTRACT
    Lee v. Macon County Board  of Education shows the evolution of
the role of the three branches in enforcing the equal protection clause in
public education in Alabama. All three branches initially acquiesced in
the separate but equal doctrine. The executive and the judicial branches
rejected the doctrine in Brown, but the legislative branch remained silent
until 1964. Despite Congress' failure to authorize a federal role in
desegregation, the Department ofJustice was an active participant in Lee
beginning in 1963. When Congress finally did act in 1964 to authorize
such suits, it encumbered the authorization with severe limitations.
Congress also created a parallel enforcement mechanism, in Title VI of
the 1964 Act. In later years, Congress and the executive have emphasized
general reform of education as the answer, in legislation such as No Child
Left Behind. My paper explores the role of the federal government in the
statewide desegregation of Alabama's public schools. Federal court
litigation in Lee v. Macon County  Board  of Education led to an
extraordinary remedy and illustrates the potential for the Departments
of Justice and Education to play a key role in reviving the quest for equal
educational opportunity through desegregation.



Copyright @ 2016 Brian K. Landsberg.
*Professor Emeritus, Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Thanks to Stephen Pollak and Dorothy
Landsberg and participants in the Duke Law School Conference on The Present and Future of
Civil Rights Movements: Race and Reform in 21 Century America, for their helpful comments.
Thanks also to able research assistants, Robert Mayville, Ryan Matthews, Aman Grewal, and
Michelle Aharonovitz; and the editors of the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public
Policy.

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