Thursday, June 14, 2007

Headline: Supreme Court Overturns Brown v Board?

In my post on Tuesday, I suggested that sometimes you can predict the outcome of a Supreme Court case by asking what the headline will be in the major newspapers if it comes out one way or another. A reader rightly noted that the press often mischaracterizes the Court's work, for example, by treating certiorari denials as affirmances or by treating the decision to uphold a law as an endorsement of the policy behind the law. That's true, so I'll modify my earlier point to say that we want to know what a fairly accurate headline would say.

Thus the question: If (perhaps as soon as later this morning), the Supreme Court invalidates the voluntary integration plans of Louisville and Seattle, will the headlines read (as a colleague of mine only half-jokingly suggested they might) "Supreme Court Overturns Brown v. Board?" And if so, how unfair a characterization would that be? Stay tuned.