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Affirmative Action Essay

3596 words - 15 pages


Affirmative action is public policy, which has been discussed for the last 50 years, and in those 50 years no common consensus has been arrived at in the country. On one side of the issue we have those who believe affirmative actions is required to not only right the wrongs of the past generations but to also allow minorities to become more productive members of society that these people believe they would be otherwise. On the other side of the spectrum are those who believe there should be no affirmative action and instead everyone should be treated the same regardless of their race, color, sex or any other identifying features used in affirmative action. In full disclosure I tend to ...view middle of the document...

Basically they were saying while the college could use race as one of the things they looked at for admission they could not do so in such a way that a more qualified white male would be passed over for a less qualified minority. One of the things this ended up doing was putting a damper on the ideas of quotas based on race.
While Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, started to put some restrictions on how affirmative action was to be carried out the case of Fullilove v. Klutznick actually loosened some of the restrictions on quotas put down in the first court case. In this court case the Justices walked back a bit of their ruling on the previous case by saying it was not unconstitional to have a small amount of quotas when it comes to the issuing of government contracts. This meant the government was allowed to have a 15 percent quota requirement when it came to handing out government contracts. On the flip side of this ruling was what happened when the Jackson Board of Education attempted to try to meet its quota requirements by lying off nonminority employees with seniority over instead of the minority employees? In Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education the Supreme Court made a ruling the school board was not allowed to do this. They basically said there is a difference between telling a person they cannot have a job because of a quota and firing a person to meet the same quota. In the second case you are taking something away from someone who already has the job were as in the first case they are not really losing anything because they did not have it in the first place.
Shortly after making the ruling that the government can have quotas based on race when it comes to awarding contracts to minority owned companies they then turned around and put some restrictions on their own ruling. In the “City of Richmond v. Croson” case the court ruled that there actually has to be a proven history of racial discrimination in order to justify the use of affirmative action and not just the claim of some past discrimination to bring it about. To those who have studied this case it appears the court was attempting to prevent the use of affirmative action as a reverse discrimination process. While this case covered local and state government levels a few years after this case another one came before the court, which covered the federal government. In Adarand Constructors, Inc., v. Pena the Courts again said there must be proof of discrimination and not just an assertion of it for there to be a forced affirmative action put into place. These two rulings really did more than anything else I think in raining in affirmative action a bit by forcing the government to actually think about what they were doing because they had to prove something bad was occurring before they could try to enforce this type of policy. With that in mind President Clinton put out guidelines from the White House about what type of policies needed to be gotten...

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