CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT.
White, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, and Stevens, JJ., joined. Stewart, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Burger, C. J., joined, ante, p. 469. Powell, J., filed a dissenting opinion, ante, p. 479. Rehnquist, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Powell, J., joined, post, p. 542.
MR. JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.
This litigation has a protracted history in the courts below and has already resulted in one judgment and opinion by this Court. Dayton Board of Education v. Brinkman, 433 U.S. 406 (1977) (Dayton I). In its most recent opinion, the
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit approved a systemwide plan for desegregating the public schools of Dayton, Ohio. Brinkman v. Gilligan, 583 F.2d 243 (1978). The Court of Appeals found that the Dayton Board of Education had operated a racially segregated, dual school system at the time of Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (Brown I), and that "[the] evidence of record demonstrates convincingly that defendants have failed to eliminate the continuing systemwide effects of their prior discrimination" and "actually have exacerbated the racial separation existing at the time of Brown I." 583 F.2d, at 253. We granted certiorari, 439 U.S. 1066 (1979), and heard argument in this case in tandem with Columbus Board of Education v. Penick, ante, p. 449. We now affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
The public schools of Dayton are highly segregated by race. In the year the complaint was filed, 43% of the students in the Dayton system were black, but 51 of the 69 schools in the system were virtually all white or all black.*fn1 Brinkman v.
Board to take the necessary steps to assure that each school in the system would roughly reflect the systemwide ratio of black and white students. App. to Pet. for Cert. 103a.*fn4 The Court of Appeals then affirmed. Brinkman v. Gilligan, 539 F.2d 1084 (1976).
We reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and ordered the case remanded to the District Court for further proceedings. Dayton I, supra. In light of the District Court's limited findings regarding liability,*fn5 we concluded that there was no warrant for imposing a systemwide remedy. Rather, the District Court should have "[determined] how much incremental segregative effect these violations had on the racial distribution of the Dayton school population as presently constituted, when that distribution is compared to what it would have been in the absence of such constitutional violations. The remedy must be designed to redress that difference,
and only if there has been a systemwide impact may there be a systemwide remedy." 433 U.S., at 420. In view of the confusion evidenced at various stages of the proceedings regarding the scope of the violation established, we remanded the case to permit supplementation of the record and specific findings addressed to the scope of the remedy, id., at 418-419, but allowed the existing remedy to remain in effect on remand subject to further orders of the District Court, id., at 420-421.
The District Court held a supplemental evidentiary hearing, undertook to review the entire record anew, and entered findings of fact and conclusions of law and a judgment dismissing the complaint. In support of its judgment, the District Court observed that, although various instances of purposeful segregation in the past evidenced "an inexcusable history of mistreatment of black students," 446 F.Supp., at 1237, plaintiffs had failed to prove that acts of intentional segregation over 20 years old had any current incremental segregative effects.*fn6 The District Court conceded that the Dayton schools were highly segregated but ruled that the Board's failure to alleviate this condition was not actionable absent sufficient evidence that the racial separation had been caused by the Board's own purposeful discriminatory conduct. In the District Court's eyes, plaintiffs had failed to show either discriminatory purpose or segregative effect, or both, with ...