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The governing legal standard is plausibility: the plaintiffs must allege enough facts against the state defendants to show that racial motivation is not merely possible, but plausible. The court must look past legal conclusions. And while eloquent arguments passionately made, such as plaintiffs' responding brief, have their rightful place, the law here focuses on what John Adams famously called the stubborn things — the facts.Here's the full order,
Of course it's possible. It's conceivable that, somewhere in all this, some had a foul intention — the district should be taken over or Ms. [Joy] Springer or Dr. [James] Ross shoved out of office with the rest of the district board or charter schools expanded or federal money mismanaged — to benefit white students and to harm black students, their parents and citizen servants such as Springer and Ross.
And there's no real question about disproportionate effect: more than 65 percent of LRSD students are black; a majority of the dissolved Board was black; and the students at the growing charter schools in Little Rock are (to generalize) whiter and wealthier than LRSD's students. But the settled precedent is clear; discriminatory effects alone are insufficient to show discriminatory intentions.
What's missing are pleaded facts that show the intention to discriminate based on race, that show foul thoughts becoming harmful actions.
There are wishes, inclinations and passions all around. Plaintiffs' careful amended complaint ably presents the full weight of all the facts. It does not, however, plausibly show that the state Board's extraordinary steps were partly motivated by racial animus or were otherwise constitutionally impermissible. The motion to dismiss is therefore grantedThe plaintiffs can appeal the ruling to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative in the country these days. And Marshall is of course in solid ground on the newer standards for courts to take up claims about racial factors in education.
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