Biden – Busing – Harris: Will Biden Escape His Past? 2 of 6

(continued from yesterday)

White opposition to busing could not be posited as the reason for being Biden being against it. It was better to hide it in gobbledygook such as “mechanical problems” or other ways.

Biden pursuing this stratagem added: “I have argued that the least effective remedy to be imposed is the busing remedy”  In addition he said: “I come down on the side of A, [busing] is not constitutionally required and B, [busing] is not a useful tool. 

His spokesperson tried to explain after the debate. According to the above cited article he said: “[Joe Biden] has also always been an advocate for integration, but saw that the forced busing being discussed in these statements was not the right mechanism for achieving integration in Delaware because it put an undue burden on African-American families and children.” I suppose one had to live in a bag to believe Biden’s concern was the black children when it was the parents of those children and their fellow black representatives who were seeking the busing remedy.

Biden got involved in this because the schools in Wilmington, Delaware, the major city of the state from which he was a senator  were subject to a federal court order to integrate in 1974. He would support legislation seeking to amend the Constitution to prohibit busing. He wrote: “The quality of the schools in and around Wilmington was already suffering, and they would never be the same. White parents were terrified that their children would be shipped to the toughest neighborhoods in Wilmington; black parents were terrified that their children would be targets of violence in suburban schools.”

Seeing the squabble brought back memories. Reading some of Joe Biden’s language I though that you could substitute the name William Bulger for his. They both had the same message although Bulger’s was more related to the idea of giving the parents the right to have their kids in neighborhood schools and moving white kids from his neighborhood to schools that black kids were being moved out of because they were in such a miserable state.

The bottom line really was that not only did whites not want their children sent to black neighborhoods, the places Biden euphemistically called “the toughest neighborhoods” but they also were opposed to blacks coming into their schools and  neighborhoods. Blacks could only take from that the idea that whites were very content to see black children stuck in poor schools.

I was in at the start of all this in Boston. When the Boston School Committee (Committee) was sued by the State Board of Education for failing to comply with the Commonwealth’s Racial Imbalance Act it hired  two law firms to represent it: Hale and Dorr, now Wilmer Hale, and my firm, DiMento & Sullivan. The latter had a total number of four attorneys. I was an associate. I was designate as the one who would do most of the work on the case.

My first major interaction was when James St. Clair of Hale & Dorr designated me to take the important deposition of Charles Glenn of the Board of Education (Board) which I did. As the state case was proceeding along the NAACP brought suit in the federal district court. That put the state case on the back burner. The federal suit before Judge W. Arthur Garrity was to be divided into two stages: the first was to determine whether the Boston School Committee was liable for the segregation in the public schools; the second was to be the remedy stage.

During the first stage of the federal case my involvement diminished to zero as Hale and Dorr advocated on behalf of the Committee. At the end of that litigation, Garrity found the Committee liable. He ordered the Committee to vote for a desegregation plan drawn up by the Board. It hemmed and hawed right up to the deadline for filing it and then voted against it. Right after that happened, Hale and Dorr quit the case.

(continued tomorrow)


1 thought on “Biden – Busing – Harris: Will Biden Escape His Past? 2 of 6

  1. Good story in the American Spectator entitled The Joys of Busing. Before forced busing Dallas public schools were two thirds white. Today they are 5%. A total failure was Federal Court ordered busing. Half wit judges trying a social experiment which went as badly as the People’s Temple in Jonestown. And some think the Government could run health care. 2. Hale and Dorr had great courage.

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