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Evans v. Newton

De Facto Segregation

De facto segregation is segregation "by the facts." It exists in a situation where no law dictates segregation, but where segregation occurs simply as a matter of practice. It has a different legal meaning than de jure segregation, or segregration by law: the Fourteenth Amendment has long been understood to invalidate de jure segregation, but its use with regard to de facto segregation has been more difficult.

De facto segregation verges into the area of freedom of association, which is generally understood to be protected under the Constitution--though not in the years since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, when freedom of association signified discrimination. Many observers have noted that America since the 1960s has been more or less in a state of de facto segregation in some areas. For instance, African American students and white students, who are free to sit with one another at college cafeteria tables around the country, tend to separate into small racial groups. This is voluntary segregation, a more difficult phenomenon to counteract because it is beyond the reach of law.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972Evans v. Newton - Significance, A Bequest To The Public, A Public Or A Private Facility?, Impact, De Facto Segregation