Green et al. v. County School Board of New Kent County et al.(391 U.S. 430)

The Green case went before the United States Supreme Court in 1968. The case tested whether a county could continue to maintain de facto segregation through a "freedom of choice" plan or whether compliance with the Brown decision required active steps to eliminate dual school systems. New Kent's two high schools in the mid-1960s continued to remain separate, one almost exclusively white the other black. The results of freedom of choice plans, then, were to maintain the status quo of segregated schools. Both the District Court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals approved the freedom of choice plan as constitutional. However, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed these rulings and held that New Kent County could not continue a racially separate dual school system. The question was "not whether the Fourteenth Amendment is to be interpreted as universally requiring compulsory integration so as to require invalidation of the 'freedom-of-choice' plan" but instead whether the school board's measures had achieved compliance with Brown. Where freedom of choice plans worked to end segregated school systems, presumably they could be used, but where they did not the effect of the policy was continued segregation and therefore an unconstitutional violation of equal protection. The Court's decision meant that school boards had to take "affirmative" action to end dual school systems. Samuel W. Tucker and Jack Greenberg argued the case for the plaintiffs The Court's unanimous decision held, "This deliberate perpetuation of the unconstitutional dual system can only have compounded the harm of such a system. Such delays are no longer tolerable."