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Reply #139: City of Richmond, VA vs. J. A. Croson Co. (1989) [View All]

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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-08-08 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #137
139. City of Richmond, VA vs. J. A. Croson Co. (1989)
The Facts--In 1983, the City Council of Richmond, Virginia adopted regulations that required companies awarded city construction contracts to subcontract 30 percent of their business to minority business enterprises. The J.A. Croson Company, which lost its contract because of the 30 percent set-aside, brought suit against the city.

The Conclusion--The Court determined that the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment was violated. In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that "generalized assertions" of past racial discrimination could not justify "rigid" racial quotas for the awarding of public contracts. Justice O'Connor's opinion noted that the 30 percent quota could not be tied to "any injury suffered by anyone," and was an impermissible employment of a suspect classification. O'Connor further held that allowing claims of past discrimination to serve as the basis for racial quotas would actually subvert constitutional values: "The dream of a Nation of equal citizens in a society where race is irrelevant to personal opportunity and achievement would be lost in a mosaic of shifting preferences based on inherently unmeasurable claims of past wrongs."

Writer's Note: This is one of the lesser known legal assaults on Affirmative Action, but a major case that affected the construction industry. Also, as stated above, the composition of the members of the Supreme Court become critical in the decision. Data found in the findarticles article shows the institution bias that a minority-owned construction firm has to deal with in order to get contracts. That incredible bias, and fact thereof, was cited in the dissenting opinion of the Court. /
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