Many VDARE.com readers are familiar with Plyler vs Doe
, the decision that requires school boards to provide education to juvenile illegal aliens, regardless of expense. Reading an old Dan Seligman column recently, I was reminded that the Supreme Court that wrote that decison was "bitterly divided."
A bitterly divided Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that the children of illegals are entitled to a public education, at least through the 12th grade and maybe beyond. The ruling was unclear about college, but legislatures in New York and California have guaranteed illegals a right to attend public institutions of higher learning. We shall rashly state that the Supremes` logic in the case, Plyler v. Doe, was unfathomable. It presumed to rest on the Constitutional right of all persons to ``equal protection of the laws,`` but it was definitely stretching things in asserting that the Fourteenth Amendment required states to provide identical treatment to those who lived there lawfully and those who did not.[ILLEGAL RIGHTS, by Daniel Seligman, Fortune Magzine, June 27, 1994]
How can you tell that Court was bitterly divided? Well, you count the votes, (5-4) and you read the dissent, which was written by Chief Justice Burger. How bad was Plyler
? Well, Sandra Day O`Connor joined in the dissent. One important point is that we`re not dealing with the children of illegal alines, but with illegal alien children.
(And teenagers, of course.)
"Both the opinion of the Court and JUSTICE POWELL`s concurrence imply that appellees are being "penalized" because their parents are illegal entrants. Ante at 220; ante at 238-239, and 239, n. 3 (POWELL, J., concurring). However, Texas has classified appellees on the basis of their own illegal status, not that of their parents. Children born in this country to illegal alien parents, including some of appellees` siblings, are not excluded from the Texas schools. Nor does Texas discriminate against appellees because of their Mexican origin or citizenship. Texas provides a free public education to countless thousands of Mexican immigrants who are lawfully in this country."[BURGER, C.J., Dissenting Opinion, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATE,S 457 U.S. 202 Plyler v. Doe]