The Supreme Court's school desegregation case law has been a confusing maze of fits and starts. In 1954, a unanimous Court declared in Brown v. Board of Education that education "must be made available to all on equal terms." Yet, less than 20 years later, the Court found a Texas education financing plan that allowed for significant differences in funding between school districts to be constitutional. This Article examines that decision, San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, in more detail. It also discusses the case's legacy and numerous unresolved issues that still impact the Latino community today. Part II of the Article deals with the case itself, including the dissent penned by Justice Thurgood Marshall. This Part also discusses the evolving recognition of a unique Latino identity demonstrated by a comparison between Rodriguez and the earlier Ninth Circuit case of Westminster School District of Orange County v. Mendez. It further discusses the implications on the case's holding of the shift from the Warren Court to the Burger Court. Part III discusses the case's legacy. This includes the possibilities for future school desegregation and funding litigation suggested by the Court's language and how advocates for equalization of school funding have proceeded in the forty years since Rodriguez. It also briefly deals with the current status of education in Edgewood, Texas, what has become of the Rodriguez plaintiffs, and how the Latino community has developed since the litigation concluded. This part concludes by considering the continuing problem of the disparity between public safety spending and education spending and the implications of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act for the Latino community, with a special emphasis on the Act's possible impacts regarding education.
Charles J. Ogletree Jr.,
The Legacy and Implications of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez,
Rich. J. L. & Pub. Int.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/pilr/vol17/iss2/3