Ann Coulter

That's what a federal judge did to Kansas City, Mo., under the Olympic-Sized Pool and Tax-Them-Till-They-Scream clauses of the U.S. Constitution. (As a matter of technical constitutional law, the Constitution does not strictly require states to provide public school students with petting farms.)

But over the past several decades, any number of federal judges got it into their heads that black students had to sit next to white students in order to learn. It was all the rage at the elite universities -- Harvard Law School, in particular. Justice Clarence Thomas responded to the theory by saying, "It never ceases to amaze me that the courts are so willing to assume that anything that is predominantly black must be inferior."

In any event, the theory was that if the federal courts ordered the states to spend gobs of money building "model schools" with petting farms (and highly paid teachers' unions) in the mostly black city schools, the all-important white students would come. Surrounded by white people, black students' education would improve. (The popular appeal of this charming notion gives you some idea why the most frequent modifier to "federal judge" is "unelected.")

Needless to say, having federal judges and Harvard professors run local school districts on the basis of a preposterous racist theory nearly wrecked school system after school system.

Federal judges managed to wrest control of the school systems in the first place through scam lawsuits between non-adverse parties. It worked like this: A few parents would sue the school board, and the school board would promptly admit guilt. Then the amiable adversaries would giddily enter "voluntary" settlement agreements requiring the school boards to make lavish improvements (and generously increase the salaries of school administrators). The court would enter an order confirming the "voluntary" settlement -- and the taxpayers would be stuck with the bill.

These "voluntary" desegregation plans were voluntary in the same way you "volunteer" your wallet to a couple of con men who have just staged a phony confrontation to abet picking your pocket. As Ashcroft explained his objections to the "voluntary" desegregation plan to Sen. Kopechne, "the thing was that the state was going to have to pay for everything that people volunteered to do." The plans also had as much to do with desegregation as -- well -- a pickpocket does.

It's time to send in Alan Keyes. He could probably explain all this to the drunk with some trenchancy.