Supreme Court Upholds Michigan’s Ban On Race And Gender Preferences In Employment, Education

The United States Supreme Court continues to whittle around the edge of the basic constitutional question concerning affirmative action programs – do the equal protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment allow or prohibit affirmative action programs that explicitly rely on race or gender? Though it would seem that five (Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas) of the Court’s nine justices are strongly philosophically inclined against affirmative action programs, the…

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Omaha’s Affirmative Action Plan For Fire Department Ruled Discriminatory

In 1971, the City of Omaha, Nebraska instituted the first of a series of affirmative action plans for the Fire Department. The most recent plan, adopted in 2002, is consistent with the Office of Federal Contracting Compliance Program Guidelines on Affirmative Action Programs (Guidelines). The Guidelines, which are not binding on municipalities, specify that “availability” is defined as “an estimate of the number of qualified minorities available for employment…

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For Affirmative Action Purposes, ‘Labor Force’ Has Different Meaning Than ‘Population’

Thirty years ago, the City of Syracuse, New York entered into a consent decree to increase the number of African-Americans in the Syracuse Fire Department. The Consent Decree required the City to “use its good faith efforts to achieve the long-term goal to utilize blacks in all ranks within the Department in numbers approximating their representation within the labor force which is available for employment in the City of…

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Supreme Court Overturns New Haven’s Scrapping Of Firefighter Promotional Test

On the last day of its 2008-2009 term, the Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision in a contentious lawsuit involving a promotional examination in the New Haven, Connecticut Fire Department. While the Court did not go as far as some believed – Justice Antonin Scalia, writing a concurring opinion, lamented that the Court had only postponed the “evil day” when it would be forced to consider the overall legality…

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The Long Saga Of Memphis PD’s Affirmative Action Plan Continues

Other than perhaps the plans in place in the Chicago police and fire departments, no affirmative action plan has been subject to more litigation than that used for promotions by the Memphis Police Department. Over the years, courts have struck down numerous promotions on the grounds that they violate the rights of either minority or non-minority employees. A decision just before the turn of the new year saw yet…

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