Mayor Kevin H. White plans to ask Raoul Berger, Warren Senior Fellow in American Legal History at the Law School, to help construct a legal brief challenging court decisions ordering forced busing in Boston, an official close to the mayor said yesterday.
Herbert P. Gleason '50, corporation counsel for the city of Boston, said White will meet with Berger soon to discuss the possibility of writing a legal argument that the Supreme Court might recognize as "a viable alternative" to the Phase Two busing order decision that Federal District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr., handed down last spring.
May Share White's Feeling
Although they have as yet only agreed to discuss the matter in more detail, White thinks Berger may share some of his feeling that Garrity's decisions should be contested as they now stand, Gleason said.
Berger confirmed yesterday that he had agreed to meet with the mayor--whom he called "my good friend who I respect"--but he said he did not wish to speculate about the possible outcome of the meeting. Berger also refused to give his opinion of the Garrity rulings.
Garrity was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Berger, an expert in the history of constitutional law, rose to national prominence in 1973, when Congress and the special prosecutor's office consulted him to determine whether former President Richard M. Nixon's claims of "executive privilege" in withholding evidence were unconstitutional.
'Taking Him Seriously'
The publicity Berger received during the Watergate proceedings would be "a major factor in people taking him seriously" if he were to contest the busing order, Charles R. Nesson '60, professor of Law, said yesterday.
White is asking Berger in particular to help with the brief because he wants to contest the constitutionality of a law that compels elected officials to appropriate funds for busing, Gleason said. Busing costs have left the city with a severe financial crisis, he added.
"The mayor recognizes that Garrity is doing what he is required to do, but he finds the judge's preconceptions about the practicability of busing hard to take," Gleason said.
"Garrity's most bothersome preconception is that the city's financial crisis is not real--he doesn't realize that if his orders are given highest priority other programs have to be shut out," he said.
Be Kind to Mayors
Gleason said White feels that Garrity has not given consideration to the mayor's jobs of running the city, and that Garrity has had too much faith in the competence of school department officials to implement his busing orders.
The Phase Two desegregation plan orders city officials to implements and finance city-wide busing of secondary school students to achieve a greater racial balance in the Boston area schools.