Milliken v. Bradley: The Milliken II Ruling
On remand from Milliken I, the trial court immediately ordered the Detroit school board to resubmit a desegregation plan that was limited to the Detroit school system. Along with proposing a student reassignment strategy that would have eliminated racially identifiable schools, the new plan included 13 remedial programs, called educational components, in the areas of reading, teacher in-service training, testing, and counseling. According to its revised plan, all costs for these additional programs were to be shared between the board in Detroit and the State of Michigan. However, the state filed objections to the board’s plan, contending that the remedy should be limited to student reassignments for the purpose of achieving desegregation. State officials argued that the educational components were excessive.
In a measure of vindication following Milliken I, in Milliken II, the Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the trial court and Sixth Circuit that directed the State of Michigan to fund the additional educational programs that were designed to remedy the negative educational effects of imposed segregation. The Court observed that insofar as student reassignments did not automatically remedy the impact of prior educational isolation, public officials had to deal with the consequences of segregation through various measures.
In Milliken II, the Court advanced three holdings. First, the justices were of the opinion that the lower court appropriately approved the remedial educational plan. Second, the Court pointed out that consistent with the Eleventh Amendment, the State of Michigan had to pay one half of the costs of implementing the educational components of its order. Third, the Court was satisfied that the earlier judicial orders to remedy the segregative student assignments did not violate the Tenth Amendment.