VII. Conclusion

In 1896, the Supreme Court told Homer Plessy and the Nation that state-mandated racial segregation did not violate the Equal Protection Clause in a decision oblivious to or disingenuously dismissive of the history, realities, and manifestation of an entrenched and subordinating racial hierarchy. In 2007, more than a half century after Brown's racial realism rejected Plessy's formalism, the Court in Parents Involved told Seattle and Louisville and the Nation that voluntary efforts to racially integrate those communities' public schools violated the clause.

As discussed in this Article, the ahistorical, acontextual, and abstractional approaches to the Equal Protection Clause taken in the opinions of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas are reminiscent of and resurrect certain problematical aspects of Plessy's construction and constriction of the Equal Protection Clause. That resurrection places yet another obstacle in the path of those who value integration and seek “the creation of a community of relationships among people who view one another as valuable, who take pride in one another's contributions, and who appreciate differences and know that commonalities and synergies outweigh any extra efforts that bridging differences may require.”


Alumnae Law Center Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center. J.D., The University of Pennsylvania Law School; B.A., Wilberforce University.