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Another week, another anxious wait for the Supreme Court’s much-anticipated rulings on the use of race as a factor in assigning students to public schools. The cases were argued Dec. 4 — the only cases left that were argued in 2006 but are still undecided. “It’s been a long wait,” says Theodore Shaw, the director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The suspense will likely end this week, with the Court sitting June 25 and at least one other day to wrap up its term. But there is growing dread in the civil rights community that Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. will author the rulings and strike down school programs aimed at maintaining school integration. “I still harbor a little prayer that we will be proven wrong,” says Shaw, whose group has a blog on the issues. If the programs are struck down, Shaw’s big challenge will be responding to headlines announcing affirmative action is dead. Maureen Mahoney doubts the rulings will be a death knell for affirmative action. Mahoney, the Latham & Watkins partner who defended state university affirmative action programs in 2003 and won, says, “I don’t think the big question will be answered.”
Tony Mauro can be contacted at [email protected].

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