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The U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Keyes v. School District No. 1, Denver, Colorado, has had a profound and lasting effect on school desegregation litigation. While the Court ruling included some findings of benefit to plaintiffs in such cases, of more lasting import was its decision to let stand the legal distinction between de jure and de facto segregation. This has severely limited the ability of minority students to sue for more integrated public schools under the Fourteenth Amendment. In the years since Keyes, school systems have become more segregated, and minority students are unable to obtain judicial redress.

Facts of the Case

In Keyes, the parents of Latino and African American students who attended schools in Denver's Park Hill area sued the school board, ...

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