The opinion of the court was delivered by: HAYS
The question in this case is whether Section 3201(2) of the New York Education Law (McKinney 1970), enacted as Chapter 342,  Laws of New York, 1306, denies "to any person * * * the equal protection of the laws" in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Section 3201(2) of the New York Education Law provides as follows:
2. Except with the express approval of a board of education having jurisdiction, a majority of the members of such board having been elected, no student shall be assigned or compelled to attend any school on account of race, creed, color or national origin, or for the purpose of achieving equality in attendance or increased attendance or reduced attendance, at any school, of persons of one or more particular races, creeds, colors, or national origins; and no school district, school zone or attendance unit, by whatever name known, shall be established, reorganized or maintained for any such purpose, provided that nothing contained in this section shall prevent the assignment of a pupil in the manner requested or authorized by his parents or guardian, and further provided that nothing in this section shall be deemed to affect, in any way, the right of a religious or denominational educational institution to select its pupils exclusively or primarily from members of such religion or denomination or from giving preference to such selection to such members or to make such selection to its pupils as is calculated to promote the religious principle for which it is established.
Section 3201(2) prohibits state education officials and appointed school boards from assigning students, or establishing, reorganizing or maintaining school districts, school zones or attendance units for the purpose of achieving racial equality in attendance. By the terms of the statute, elected boards continue to have power to engage in such activities.
Plaintiffs, parents of children attending the Buffalo public schools, governed by an appointed school board,
brought this suit on behalf of themselves, their children and all others similarly situated to enjoin the enforcement of Section 3201(2) and to declare the statute unconstitutional on the ground that it denies equal protection of the laws. Plaintiffs' complaint is that Section 3201(2) invidiously discriminates against efforts to eliminate racial imbalance in the public schools.
Defendants are the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, the Commissioner of Education of the State of New York, the Superintendent of the Board of Education of the City of Buffalo and the Board of Education of the City of Buffalo. Intervening as defendants are other parents of children attending Buffalo public schools, who are opposed to the position advocated by the plaintiffs.
This three-judge court was convened to hear and determine this action. 28 U.S.C. § 2284 (1964); see 28 U.S.C. § 2281 (1964). We hold that Section 3201(2) denies the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment and that its enforcement must be permanently enjoined.
This court's jurisdiction to award the relief plaintiffs request is clear and is not questioned by defendants. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988 (1964) and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343(3), 2201 (1964). Defendants, however, do contest plaintiffs' standing to bring the action; therefore, we turn first to that issue.
In Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 101, 88 S. Ct. 1942, 1953, 20 L. Ed. 2d 947 (1968), the Supreme Court said: "[In] terms of Article III limitations on federal court jurisdiction, the question of standing is related only to whether the dispute sought to be adjudicated will be presented in an adversary context and in a form historically viewed as capable of judicial resolution." This in turn depends upon whether the party seeking relief has "'alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.' Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204, 82 S. Ct. 691, 7 L. Ed. 2d 663 (1962)," Flast v. Cohen, supra, 392 U.S. at 99, 88 S. Ct. at 1952.
In resolving the issue, there are two inquiries to be made. First, whether there is a "logical nexus" between the status plaintiffs assert and the claim sought to be adjudicated,
Flast v. Cohen, supra at 102, 88 S. Ct. 1942, and, second, whether plaintiffs are harmed in fact, economically or otherwise, by the law against which their complaint is directed. See Association of Data Processing Service Organizations, Inc. v. Camp, 397 U.S. 150, 152, 90 S. Ct. 827, 25 L. Ed. 2d 184 (1970).
Plaintiffs clearly satisfy the "logical nexus" test. They are parents of children attending Buffalo public schools, suing on behalf of themselves, their children and all others similarly situated.
Some of their children are in schools where there is a high degree of racial concentrations.
Their complaint is that Section 3201(2) invidiously discriminates against efforts to promote equal educational opportunity by alleviating racial imbalance in the public schools. Consequently there is a logical nexus both between plaintiffs' status and the legislation attacked and between their status and the constitutional infringement alleged. See Flast v. Cohen, supra, 392 U.S. at 102-103, 88 S. Ct. 1942. Plaintiffs, for themselves and their children, are the logical parties to attack the constitutionality of a law directly affecting the state's educational policy. They are also proper parties to assert the right to be free from racial discrimination in public education. Their interest is both personal and direct. See Adler v. Board of Education, 342 U.S. 485, 503, 72 S. Ct. 380, 96 L. Ed. 517 (1952) (dissenting opinion of Frankfurter, J.). Cf. Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249, 73 S. Ct. 1031, 97 L. Ed. 1586 (1953).
It is also clear that plaintiffs are harmed by Section 3201(2), in that the educational policies to which their children are subjected are directly ...