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Milliken v. Bradley

Significance, Busing: Was It Worth It?, Further Readings


Ronald Bradley and Richard Bradley, by their mother, Verda Bradley, et al.


William G. Milliken, Governor of Michigan, et al.

Plaintiffs' Claim

The Detroit School System was racially segregated as a result of official Michigan policies and actions, as well as those of city officials. Also, they attacked the constitutionality of a Michigan state statute because, they said, it "put the State of Michigan in the position of unconstitutionally interfering with the execution and operation of a voluntary plan of partial high school desegregation, known as the 7 April 1970, Plan."

Chief Lawyers for Plaintiff

J. Harold Flannery and Nathaniel R. Jones

Chief Defense Lawyers

Frank J. Kelley, William M. Saxton, Robert H. Bork, U.S. Solicitor General

Justices for the Court

Warren E. Burger (writing for the Court), Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

None (William H. Rehnquist did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

25 July 1974


The federal district court order to desegregate Detroit schools through a plan that involved the three-county area and 53 other school districts was ruled as improper.

Related Cases

  • Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
  • Green v. County School Board, 391 U.S. 430 (1968).
  • Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1 (1971).
  • Keyes v. School District No. 1, 413 U.S. 189 (1972).


Bradley, David, and Shelley Fisher Fishkin, eds. The Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America. Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 1998.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980