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In Freeman v. Pitts (1992), the U.S. Supreme Court was asked to determine whether a trial federal court had discretion to relinquish jurisdiction over portions of a school board's constitutionally required desegregation plan before it declared that all aspects of a school district's operations were declared “unitary” or free from discrimination. The Court ruled that a federal trial court does have such authority to release a school board from active judicial oversight incrementally before the board's district achieves full unitary status as long as officials observe specified equitable principles. This entry describes Freeman's facts, its historic context, and the equitable principles that the Court identified. Freeman was a significant step toward ending decades-long judicial supervision of desegregating districts and accelerating the process of returning ...

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