LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- An attorney who won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that rejected the use of race in assigning students to Louisville schools asked a judge on Thursday to allow about 2,800 students to change schools immediately.
Teddy B. Gordon's motion also asked U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II to put the school district's superintendent and members of his administration in jail if they do not go along with the request.
The court filing comes less than a month before the scheduled Aug. 22 start of classes in Jefferson County Public Schools. No hearing date has been set in the case.
Jefferson County schools attorney Byron Leet said the motions have "no merit" and said the board will respond to the request that the school superintendent be jailed.
"It's simply outrageous," Leet said.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to reject the use of race in student assignments in cases from Louisville and Seattle. The case now goes back to Heyburn.
Leet said the school district plans to comply with the high court's ruling and is working on getting a new plan into place by the 2009-10 school year. The board left some of the current plan in place, saying it did not want to reassign students shortly before school began.
Leet said race would not be a factor in school assignments in the 2008-09 school year even if a new plan has not been approved by a judge.
Gordon, who represented Louisville parent Crystal Meredith in challenging the student assignment plan, said he wants the current system scrapped immediately.
The Louisville school district adopted its contested plan in 2000, after a federal judge said it had eliminated the vestiges of past discrimination after 25 years of court-ordered busing.
The school district is about 56 percent white, 37 percent black and 8 percent other minorities. The current plan allows some student choice while seeking to keep minority enrollment at between 15 percent and 50 percent of the population at most schools.
Meredith got involved in the case because her son was bused 90 minutes round trip each day. She later moved and her son, now 10, got into his school of choice.
--The Associated Press