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The U.S. Department of Justice has played an important role in the development and enforcement of school desegregation law, by participating in Brown and later cases. From the Truman administration to the present, the thrust of government policy has been to promote unity and vindicate the unmet promise of the equal protection clause. The ambiguity of the Supreme Court's decision in Brown has allowed considerable flexibility in defining and remedying discrimination. Whether Brown failed or succeeded depends on which possible meaning of Brown one accepts. The department now should protect the gains under Brown from retrogressive attacks and should oppose resegregation.