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Northcross v. Board of Education, 397 U.S. 232 (1970)

Northcross v. Board of Education of Memphis,

Tennessee, City Schools

No. 1136

Decided March 9, 1970

397 U.S. 232


In May, 1969, the District Court ordered the Memphis Board of Education to file a revised desegregation plan, and, by January 1, 1970, to file a map of proposed zone boundaries and enrollment figures by race within the revised zones, so as to enable the court to reconsider the adequacy of a transfer provision. The court found that the existing and supplemental plans did "not have real prospects for dismantling the state-imposed dual system at the earliest practicable date.'" The Court of Appeals denied petitioners' request, based on Alexander v. Holmes County Board, 396 U. S. 19, for an injunction requiring the Board to file, by January 5, 1970, a plan for the operation of the schools as a unitary system for the current school year, on the ground that Alexander was inapplicable because the Board had converted the "dual system into a unitary system."

Held: The Court of Appeals erred (1) in substituting its finding that the Board is not now operating a dual system for the District Court's contrary findings, which were based on substantial evidence; (2) in ruling prematurely that the Board had converted to a unitary system, since neither the revised plan nor the school zones and enrollment figures ordered to be filed by January 1, 1970, were properly before it for review, and (3) in holding that Alexander is inapplicable to this case.

Certiorari granted; Court of Appeals' remand of December 19, 1969, affirmed as modified; Court of Appeals' order of January 12, 1970, denying injunctive relief, affirmed; motion for injunction pending certiorari denied.

Page 397 U. S. 233

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