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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name U.S. v. Desoto Parish School Board SD-LA-0010
Docket / Court 5:67-cv-12589-SMH ( W.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On January 11, 1967, the U.S. Department of Justice brought this school desegregation case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The Department of Justice sued to enjoin the operation of a segregated school system in rural Desoto Parish, Louisiana. In its early stages, ... read more >
On January 11, 1967, the U.S. Department of Justice brought this school desegregation case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The Department of Justice sued to enjoin the operation of a segregated school system in rural Desoto Parish, Louisiana. In its early stages, this case was litigated largely in consolidated hearings involving 29 parishes in the Western District of Louisiana. This case was originally heard by Judge Benjamin C. Dawkins Jr.

The case was first stayed pending the Fifth Circuit's decision in U.S. v. Jefferson County Bd. of Educ., 380 F.2d 385 (1967). On March 29, 1967 the Fifth Court decided Jefferson, ruling that school boards have an affirmative duty to bring about integrated, unitary school systems as some School Boards were trying to distinguish between “integration” and “desegregation.” For information on the Jefferson County case, see SD-AL-0001 in this Clearinghouse.

Subsequently, the District Court evidently approved a "freedom of choice" desegregation plan, and the plaintiffs appealed. After the Supreme Court in Green v. County School Board of New Kent County, 391 U.S. 430 (1968), expressed frustration at the inadequacy of such plans, the Fifth Circuit on August 20, 1968, remanded a large set of consolidated cases for reconsideration of the issue. Adams v. Mathews, 403 F.2d 181 (1968). On remand, on November 14, 1968, all the judges of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana sat together, and again approved freedom of choice plan in this and 28 other cases, all consolidated as Conley v. Lake Charles School Bd., 293 F.Supp. 84 (W.D. La. 1968), On appeal, on May 28, 1969, the Court of Appeals finally ruled for all the relevant cases, including this one, that “freedom of choice” plans were inadequate to achieve desegregation of public schools. Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Bd., 417 F.2d 801 (1969).

On August 4, 1969, the District Court approved a three-year plan submitted by the School Board. The plan assigned students to schools under one of three arrangements. Students could be assigned geographically, according to the bus they rode or by providing their own transportation if they lived outside a zoned area. On January 14, 1970, Fifth Circuit ordered the plan to be modified to compel the school board to complete desegregation by February 1, 1970, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Carter v. West Feliciana Parish School Board, 396 U.S. 290 (1970), which reversed a Fifth Circuit case that allowed school districts to defer integration plans beyond February 1, 1970.

The Department of Justice filed a broad motion for further relief in 1975, but the District Court only granted additional relief with regard to the student transportation system. On appeal, in 1978, the Fifth Circuit granted the Department of Justice broad additional relief, disappointed in the lack of progress in the areas of student and faculty assignments and the District Court’s unwillingness to grant additional relief to the United States. 574 F.2d 804. The Supreme Court denied review. 439 U.S. 982 (1978).

The docket was quiet until 2007, when the parties moved for entry of a new Consent Decree. The District Court approved that Decree on February 5, 2007; it allowed the Parish to construct new schools and adjust their student transfer policy without running afoul of the desegregation order. After granting multiple time extensions, the District Court entered a superseding decree in 2011 that again modified the student transfer policy. In 2014, the District Court granted a motion to modify the school attendance zone boundaries. The School Board has continued to file periodic progress reports.

Available Opinions
Adams v. Mathews, 403 F.2d 181 (1968)
Conley v. Lake Charles School Bd., 293 F.Supp. 84 (1968)
Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Bd, 417 F.2d 801 (1969)
Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School Dist., 419 F.2d 1211 (1969)
United States v. Desoto Parish School Bd., 420 F.2d 380 (1970)
United States v. Desoto Parish School Bd., 574 F.2d 804 (1978), cert. denied 439 U.S. 982 (1978)
United States v. Desoto Parish School Bd., 2013 WL 3148637 (2013)

Alaael-Deen Shilleh - 04/30/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Busing
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Hire
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Required disclosure
Student assignment
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Education
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Transportation
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Desoto Parish School Board
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1970 - n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing SD-LA-0037 : 29 Related School Desegregation Cases in the Western District of Louisiana (W.D. La.)
Docket(s)
67-12589 (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/17/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
67-12589 (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
[Order] (380 F.2d 385)
SD-LA-0010-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/29/1967
Source: Westlaw
[Order] (403 F.2d 181)
SD-LA-0010-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/20/1968
Source: Westlaw
[Order] (293 F.Supp. 84) (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/28/1969
Source: Westlaw
[Order] (417 F.2d 801)
SD-LA-0010-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/28/1969
Source: Westlaw
[Order] (419 F.2d 1211)
SD-LA-0010-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/01/1969
Source: Westlaw
[Order] (420 F.2d 380)
SD-LA-0010-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/14/1970
Source: Westlaw
[Order] (574 F.2d 804)
SD-LA-0010-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/02/1978
Source: Westlaw
Memorandum for the United States in Opposition
SD-LA-0010-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/1978
Source: Papers of Alexander (Sandy) Ross
Consent Decree [ECF# 5] (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/05/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Superceding Consent Decree Governing Student Transfers [ECF# 51] (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/14/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Order] [ECF# 66] (2013 WL 3148637) (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/19/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report [ECF# 69]
SD-LA-0010-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/25/2013
Judges Ainsworth, Robert Andrew Jr. (Fifth Circuit, E.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-0009
Bell, Griffin Boyette (Fifth Circuit)
SD-LA-0010-0002 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Brown, John Robert (Fifth Circuit)
SD-LA-0010-0006 | SD-LA-0010-0008 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Cabot, Ted (S.D. Fla.)
SD-LA-0010-0006
Carswell, George Harrold (Fifth Circuit, N.D. Fla.)
SD-LA-0010-0009
Clark, Charles (Fifth Circuit)
SD-LA-0010-0009
Coleman, James Plemon (Fifth Circuit)
SD-LA-0010-0007 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Dawkins, Benjamin Cornwell Jr. (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-0005
Dyer, David William (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit, S.D. Fla.)
SD-LA-0010-0009
Gee, Thomas Gibbs (Fifth Circuit)
SD-LA-0010-0008
Gewin, Walter Pettus (Fifth Circuit)
SD-LA-0010-0002 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Godbold, John Cooper (Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
SD-LA-0010-0002 | SD-LA-0010-0006 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Goldberg, Irving Loeb (Fifth Circuit)
SD-LA-0010-0004 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Hicks, S. Maurice Jr. (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-0010 | SD-LA-0010-0011 | SD-LA-0010-0012 | SD-LA-0010-9000
Hunter, Edwin Ford Jr. (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-0005
Morgan, Lewis Render (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit, N.D. Ga.)
SD-LA-0010-0004 | SD-LA-0010-0008 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Putnam, Richard Johnson (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0010-0005
Simpson, John Milton Bryan (M.D. Fla., Fifth Circuit, S.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit)
SD-LA-0010-0007 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Thornberry, William Homer (Fifth Circuit, W.D. Tex.)
SD-LA-0010-0009
Wisdom, John Minor (Fifth Circuit)
SD-LA-0010-0004 | SD-LA-0010-0007 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cady, William (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-9001
Cummings, Torey B. (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0010-9000
Doar, John (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0010-9001
Finley, Stephanie A. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-0012
Jennings, Daniel L. (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0010-9001
Joiner, Courtney Terell (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-9000
Kassabian, Tamara Hardney (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0010-0011 | SD-LA-0010-9000
Marshall, Franz (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0010-0011 | SD-LA-0010-0012 | SD-LA-0010-9000
McCree, Wade Hampton Jr. (Michigan)
SD-LA-0010-0013
Michaud, Melissa Julia (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0010-0012 | SD-LA-0010-9000
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0010-0012
Shaheen, Edward L. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-9001
Vincent, Katherine (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-0011 | SD-LA-0010-0012 | SD-LA-0010-9000
Washington, Donald W. (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0010-0011
Defendant's Lawyers Blanchard, John Richard (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-9000
Dill, Pamela W (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-9000
Guste, William J. Jr. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-9001
Hammonds, Robert L. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-0001 | SD-LA-0010-0011 | SD-LA-0010-0012 | SD-LA-0010-9000
Other Lawyers Powell-Lexing, Carol D. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-9000
Scott, Louis Granderson (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0010-9000

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