When the Warren Court handed down its most famous decision, Brown vs. the Board of Education, on May 17, 1954, this writer had a ringside seat at a high school in the inner city of Washington, D.C.
While the Catholic schools had been integrated since 1948 by Cardinal Patrick O'Boyle, D.C. public schools remained segregated. But when the new school year began that fall, desegregation was dramatic, swift and peaceful. Hopes for success were high.
The first sign of social change one saw, hitchhiking to school from west of Rock Creek Park, however, was of a bumper crop of "For Sale" signs in the front yards of row houses all the way to the Capitol. The white working and middle classes were fleeing.
While hailing Brown, Washington's social and political elites also headed for the Maryland and Virginia suburbs to enroll their kids or put them in private schools. In little more than a decade, 96 percent of the children in the D.C. public schools were black.
Looking back half a century, what are the positive results of that "experiment noble in purpose" launched by the Warren Court?
Here, they are hard to find. Integration seems to have proven a false promise and a colossal failure. While per-pupil expenditures are among the highest in the nation, the test scores of children in these D.C. schools are among the lowest. In too many, the kids are learning at levels three and four grades below the national norm.
So it has gone across America, not only in the 17 Southern and border states affected by Brown, but in Northern cities like Boston, where mass busing of schoolchildren was ordered by federal judges to bring about a compulsory mixing of the races. The white folks abandoned the city schools, and the city schools went down.
But that May day in 1954, the Warren Court crossed a historic divide. It had executed, in the name of the 14th Amendment, a coup d'etat. It had usurped power over state schools that had never been granted to federal courts either in law or the Constitution.
The 14th Amendment had been approved by the same Congress that presided over the segregated schools of D.C. Thus it was obvious to all that that amendment did not outlaw what its authors had approved. But the Warren Court, impatient at the torpor of the democratic process, had established itself as a dictatorship of nine judges, and ordered the nation to do as it demanded.
The coup succeeded. Though President Eisenhower was stunned by Brown, he and the Republican Congress bowed and accepted the ruling as the law of the land to be enforced, if necessary, by federal troops, as it would be at Central High in Little Rock in 1957.
Now, having usurped a right to write its own ideology into the Constitution and to impose its writ on America, the Warren Court launched a social, cultural and moral revolution and began openly to dictate to what had been a self-governing people.
Under this dictatorship, radically secularist and egalitarian, America's public schools were as de-Christianized as thoroughly as in the Soviet Union. Voluntary prayer and Bible readings were abolished, and all replicas of the Ten Commandments taken down. Easter pageants and Christmas carols were forbidden. Teachers wearing Christian symbols were ordered to remove them.
But the court's relentless war to extirpate all expressions or symbols of Christianity from the public square of a nation still predominantly Christian was but the beginning. In the half century after Brown, the Supreme Court:
-- Declared pornography, naked dancing in beer halls and burning the American flag to be constitutionally protected speech.
-- Created new rights for criminals and new restrictions for prosecutors, and outlawed the death penalty for a generation.
-- Declared abortion a constitutional right of all women and ruled that states cannot protect babies from a grisly procedure that involves stabbing the child in the head with scissors when halfway out of the womb.
-- Ordered all state legislatures reapportioned on the basis of population alone.
-- Ordered VMI and the Citadel to end their 150-year-old all-male cadet corps traditions and stop saying grace before meals.
-- Abolished term limits on members of Congress enacted in popular referenda.
-- Forbade Arizona to make English the official language for state business and ordered California -- 60 percent of whose people had voted to end welfare to illegal aliens -- to restore welfare benefits.
-- Approved of race discrimination against white students to advance the "compelling state interest" of "diversity" in college.
-- Declared homosexual sodomy a constitutional right.
Today, we meekly await the court's judgment on whether we will have to legalize marriage between homosexuals. Were George III to return to life, he would roar with laughter at what a flock of sheep the descendants of the American rebels have become.