"You may be sure that there are men and women already on their road, who have their business to do with YOU, and who will do it. Of a certainty they will do it. They may be coming hundreds, thousands, of miles over the sea there; they may be close at hand now; they may be coming, for anything you know or anything you can do to prevent it, from the vilest sweepings of this very town."
-- Dickens, Little Dorrit
"We cannot allow it to be said by history that the difference between those who lived and those who died in the great storm and flood of 2005 was nothing more than poverty, age or skin color." --
-- Rep. Elijah Cummings, Sept 2, 2005
"Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died yesterday evening at his home in suburban Virginia, said Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg. A statement from the spokeswoman said he was surrounded by his three children when he died in Arlington."
-- Associated Press
, "Chief Justice Rehnquist Dies,"
Sep. 04, 2005
: San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez
, March 21, 1973: A class action on behalf of certain Texas school children was instituted against state school authorities in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality, under the Equal Protection clause, of using property tax in each district to supplement educational funds. The three-judge District Court held that the Texas school financing system was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection clause because it discriminated on the basis of wealth and was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection clause. On direct appeal, the United States Supreme Court reversed the holding.
"It was a monumental case, billed as promising massive educational upgrading for poor children everywhere. Marshall, White, Brennan and Douglas felt that the property taxes had to be reallocated, to even out the expenditures in different areas. Otherwise, there would never be a way to ensure equal educational opportunities, a right they felt was guaranteed by the Constitution. The other side argued that the Constitution did not require any such allocation."
-- Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong, The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court
, p. 306
"In retrospect, there were clear signs that the Supreme Court would not look too favorably on the lower court rulings on school finance coming out of Texas and California. Although the Warren Court's aura of judicial activism still glowed, the Court was under increasing political pressure to scale back its agenda. Importantly, President Nixon had appointed three politically moderate or conservative judges in the early 1970s: Chief Justice Warren Burger and Associate Justices William Rehnquist and Lewis Powell. . . . With the Rodriguez case, the plaintiffs hoped that the important position of public education within American political and economic life would lead the Court to declare education a fundamental right, thereby forcing the Court to examine much more carefully any wealth-based discrimination in the provision of public education. Certainly, the Court's position in Brown v. Board of Education supported the view that education was, implicitly at least, of central importance to governance and citizenship. After all, Chief Justice Earl Warren had written for a unanimous Court that "education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments," adding, a few lines later, that educational opportunity, "where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms."11 But what had been "the most important function of state and local governments" under the Warren Court in 1954 became somewhat less important under the Burger Court in 1973. This transformation of education's centrality--combined with a reluctance to view wealth as a suspect classification--led the Supreme Court to deny, by a narrow 5-4 margin, the claims of Demetrio Rodriguez and his fellow plaintiffs."
-- Douglas Reed, On Equal Terms: The Constitutional Politics of Educational Opportunity
"With desegregation orders losing favor in the courts, education reformers turned to the other main source of inequality in education, which desegregation advocates had thus far largely missed -- unequal financing across school districts. Because a school's resources are tied to its local tax base, children in wealthy suburbs enjoy quality teachers, smaller classes and up-to-date science labs, while students in poor areas make do with far less. In 1973, in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court had put an end to these cases in federal court, ruling 5 to 4 that school finance was a local matter. Now advocates for poor children were meeting with some success bringing state constitutional claims. Courts from Connecticut to Kentucky to, a few months ago, New York issued orders that school financing in their states be made fairer. But in many more states, courts rejected these claims. Under Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who wrote a memorandum as a Supreme Court law clerk arguing for reaffirming Plessy, progress on desegregation has not only stopped but reversed. In a series of decisions in the 1990's, sometimes called the ''resegregation cases,'' the court made it far easier for school districts to skirt desegregation orders already in place. A pair of cases in the early 1990's lowered the obstacles for school systems once held to be segregated to achieve ''unitary status,'' meaning they had legally desegregated and could start becoming segregated again. In the majority's view, desegregation was no longer a state for America to aspire for and work toward, but a punishment imposed on districts that had once done wrong, to be lifted as soon as possible."
-- Adam Cohen, "The Supreme Struggle," The New York Times
, January 18, 2004
AUSTIN - The state of Texas has agreed to take in an additional 25,000 Louisiana refugees from Hurricane Katrina and plans to house them in San Antonio, Gov. Rick Perry's office said today. Louisiana requested that Texas provide shelter for the evacuees, and Perry has spoken with the mayor and county judge in San Antonio to begin making the plans, said Perry's spokesman, Robert Black. "We don't know where, we don't know a timetable yet,'' Black said. More details were expected later today.
, Sept. 1, 2005, "San Antonio to take in 25,000 more from Louisiana"