This paper focuses on the interaction of the federal judicial and executive branches of government in one key area of civil rights, determining the scope and direction of school integration. Specifically, this paper examines the extremely powerful role of the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") in shaping the application of the Supreme Court's decisions with respect to racial inclusion in public education in the wake of two watershed rulings, Brown v. Board of Education and Grutter v. Bollinger. In addition, this paper discusses the possible consequences of executive and judicial interplay in the aftermath of the Court's most recent ruling regarding school integration in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle SchoolDistrict. In examining the role of OCR in alternately supporting and hindering the use of race-conscious policies in the wake of key jurisprudence, this paper argues that OCR may hold "supreme power" in delineating the application of school integration jurisprudence. Most importantly, the history of this federal administrative agency indicates that the Executive Branch has the potential to play an increasingly critical role in addressing persistent racial isolation and inequality in educational opportunity, mapping the future of racial inclusion in public education, and determining the role of coordinate branches of the federal government in effectuating such inclusion.
10 Berkeley J. Afr.-Am L. & Pol'y 146 (2008)