Dr. Thomas Sugrue, professor of history, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Sugrue served as an expert witness for the University of Michigan in Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger
"In his opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that "history will be heard." But the plurality in the Parents Involved decision rests its argument on a peculiarly narrow reading of history that equates Jim Crow segregation with school districts' efforts to use race to achieve classroom diversity. But for those who care about school desegregation, Justice Kennedy's opinion offers a possible way out. Building on the court's ruling in Grutter (involving affirmative action in the University of Michigan law school), Kennedy leaves open the possibility of school districts devising race-sensitive plans on the grounds that diversity remains a compelling state interest.
Dr. Kermit Roosevelt, professor of law, University of Pennsylvania
Researches and teaches constitutional law, conflict of law
"The result is not unexpected. The unexpected part is that Kennedy now seems to accept the reasoning of Grutter, from which he dissented. The broader issue is that it shows the transition from a view of equal protection according to which segregation is bad to one according to which government race-consciousness is bad, even if undertaken to avoid segregation. This has been going on for a while, but the Roberts Court seems likely to push it farther than the Rehnquist Court was willing to go."