Ruling may affect Mass. integration dispute


BOSTON (AP) – Lawyers representing parents who challenged the city of Lynn’s school desegregation plan have asked a federal court to end the practice, citing last week’s Supreme Court ruling that prohibits schools from considering race when assigning students.

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling last Thursday rejected integration plans in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle, though it did not say race could never be used when considering school assignments.

Lynn’s system allows race to be considered when children request transfers to schools outside their neighborhoods. At least 20 school districts statewide have voluntary desegregation plans that consider race, including Brockton, Salem and Worcester.

Attorney Chester Darling, who called Lynn’s policy unconstitutional, filed a motion in U.S. District Court on Tuesday. He’s asking that the case be reopened and that the Lynn policy be thrown out.

“The court has now found assignment plans that use racial restrictions on student assignments as a tool to maintain racial diversity to be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause,” Darling wrote in the court brief.

But Richard Cole, who handled the Lynn case for the state attorney general’s office, said a week ago that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion made it unlikely the ruling would impact Lynn.

The Lynn case appeared dead in 2006 after the Supreme Court refused to reconsider its rejection of Darling’s appeal in 2005. A federal district court had ruled the policies were legal.