Dean Christopher Edley, Jr., and Assistant Professor Goodwin Liu filed an amicus curiae brief October 10 with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 19 former chancellors of the University of California, urging the court to affirm voluntary efforts by local school boards to achieve racial integration in K-12 public schools throughout California and the nation. The cases arise from policies in the Seattle, Wash., and Jefferson County, Ky., school districts that use race as a limited factor in school assignment to create or maintain racially integrated schools. Both policies were upheld by the lower federal courts, and the high court is scheduled to hear argument in the matter this fall.
Edley and Liu, co-directors of Boalt’s Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, represent former chancellors from all 10 campuses of the University of California, including former UC Berkeley chancellors Robert Berdahl, Albert Bowker and Michael Heyman, who have filed the brief in their personal capacities. The chancellors’ interest in the case stems from a commitment to “ensuring excellence and diversity in the pipeline of students entering higher education from the K-12 system,” and to achieving the tolerance and cohesion essential to the “stability and prosperity of our multiracial society,” according to the brief.
“These cases are one of the final chapters in the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education,” said Liu, and they offer a “chance for the court to affirm Brown’s fundamental aspirations of integration and equality.”