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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 opposed to merely providing an opportunity for Black students to attend all-White schools. The court's decision thus rejected some school boards' attempt to distinguish between “integration” and “desegregation.” For information on the Jefferson County case, see SD-AL-0001 in this Clearinghouse.

Subsequently, the District Court approved a "freedom of choice" desegregation plan, in which students could in theory select which school to attend but in reality resulted in very little demographic change. As a result, the plaintiffs appealed. However, in Green v. County School Board of New Kent County, the Supreme Court ruled that a freedom of choice plan in Virginia was constitutionally inadequate for the purposes of school desegregation. 391 U.S. 430 (1968). Thus, the Fifth Circuit on August 20, 1968, remanded a large set of consolidated cases from various U.S. District Courts for reconsideration of whether "freedom of choice" plans were sufficient in light of the higher burden school districts face after Green. Adams v. Mathews, 403 F.2d 181 (1968).

On remand, on November 14, 1968, a three-judge panel in the district court again approved a 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 partial relief with regard to the student transportation system. On appeal, in 1978, the Fifth Circuit granted the broad relief that the Department of Justice sought but that the district court denied. Specifically, the Fifth Circuit granted relief with respect to student and faculty assignment. 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 with res. The district court approved that decree on February 5, 2007. The decree adjusted their student transfer policy so that it would not interfere with the existing desegregation order. After granting multiple time extensions, the District Court entered a superseding decree on December 14, 2011, that finalized the student transfer policy. In 2014, the District Court granted a motion to modify the school attendance zone boundaries.

The School Board filed ten additional status reports since 2014 as of May 2019. The most recent report was filed by the defendant on April 6, 2021; included student enrollment, transfer, and faculty data. The case is ongoing.

Alaael-Deen Shilleh - 04/30/2017
Sichun Liu - 05/31/2019
John Duffield - 08/09/2021


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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 (e.g., for hiring, admissions)
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 outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1970 - n/a
Filed 01/11/1967
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing SD-LA-0037 : Related School Desegregation Cases in the Western District of Louisiana (W.D. La.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
W.D. La.
04/06/2021
67-12589
SD-LA-0010-9001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
U.S. Court of Appeals
03/29/1967
[Order] (380 F.2d 385)
SD-LA-0010-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
08/20/1968
[Order] (403 F.2d 181)
SD-LA-0010-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
W.D. La.
05/28/1969
[Order] (293 F.Supp. 84)
SD-LA-0010-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
05/28/1969
[Order] (417 F.2d 801)
SD-LA-0010-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
12/01/1969
[Order] (419 F.2d 1211)
SD-LA-0010-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
01/14/1970
[Order] (420 F.2d 380)
SD-LA-0010-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
06/02/1978
[Order] (574 F.2d 804)
SD-LA-0010-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Supreme Court
10/27/1978
Memorandum for the United States in Opposition
SD-LA-0010-0013.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of Alexander (Sandy) Ross
W.D. La.
02/05/2007
Consent Decree [ECF# 5]
SD-LA-0010-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. La.
12/14/2011
Superceding Consent Decree Governing Student Transfers [ECF# 51]
SD-LA-0010-0012.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. La.
06/19/2013
[Order] [ECF# 66] (2013 WL 3148637)
SD-LA-0010-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. La.
06/25/2013
Report [ECF# 69]
SD-LA-0010-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
show all people docs
Judges Ainsworth, Robert Andrew Jr. (E.D. La., Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0009
Bell, Griffin Boyette (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0002 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Brown, John Robert (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0006 | SD-LA-0010-0008 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Cabot, Ted (S.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0006
Carswell, George Harrold (N.D. Fla., Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0009
Clark, Charles (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0009
Coleman, James Plemon (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0007 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Dawkins, Benjamin Cornwell Jr. (W.D. La.) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0005
Dyer, David William (S.D. Fla., Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0009
Gee, Thomas Gibbs (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0008
Gewin, Walter Pettus (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0002 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Godbold, John Cooper (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0002 | SD-LA-0010-0006 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Goldberg, Irving Loeb (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0004 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Hicks, S. Maurice Jr. (W.D. La.) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0010 | SD-LA-0010-0011 | SD-LA-0010-0012 | SD-LA-0010-9001
Hunter, Edwin Ford Jr. (W.D. La.) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0005
Morgan, Lewis Render (N.D. Ga., Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0004 | SD-LA-0010-0008 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Putnam, Richard Johnson (W.D. La.) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0005
Simpson, John Milton Bryan (S.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit, M.D. Fla., Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0007 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Thornberry, William Homer (W.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0009
Wisdom, John Minor (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0004 | SD-LA-0010-0007 | SD-LA-0010-0009
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cady, William (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-9001
Dallo, Amanda K. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-9001
Doar, John (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-9001
Edwards, Jerry (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-9001
Finley, Stephanie A. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0012
Jennings, Daniel L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-9001
Joiner, Courtney Terell (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-9001
Kassabian, Tamara Hardney (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0011
Marshall, Franz (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0011 | SD-LA-0010-0012 | SD-LA-0010-9001
McCree, Wade Hampton Jr. (Michigan) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0013
Michaud, Melissa Julia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0012
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0012
Shaheen, Edward L. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-9001
Vincent, Katherine (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0011 | SD-LA-0010-0012
Washington, Donald W. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0011
Defendant's Lawyers Blanchard, John Richard (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-9001
Dill, Pamela W (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-9001
Hammonds, Robert L. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0010-0001 | SD-LA-0010-0011 | SD-LA-0010-0012 | SD-LA-0010-9001

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