The Progress of Affirmative Action

  • Executive Order 8802

    Prohibited racial discrimination in the national defense industry.
  • Executive Order 10925

    Required government contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."
  • Civil Rights Act

    Outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities and women.
  • Executive Order 11246

    Established requirements for non-discriminatory practices in hiring and employment on the part of U.S. government contractors.
  • Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

    The Court held that while affirmative action systems are constitutional, a quota system based on race is unconstitutional.
  • United Steelworkers of America v. Weber

    The Supreme Court held that United Steelworkers of America did not violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as their affirmative action plan attempted to help minority workers and did not prevent other employees from advancing.
  • Local Number 93 v. Cleveland

    An affirmative action promotion plan is constitutional so long as it does not impose an 'absolute ban' on white advancement.
  • United States v. Paradise

    In a plurality opinion, the Court upheld the promotion plan. The scheme did not impose an "absolute bar" to white advancement, was narrowly drawn to include only specific ranks in the department, and, according to the four justices who voted to affirm it, was "required in light of the Department's long and shameful record of delay and resistance" in complying with past judicial decisions.
  • Johnson v. Transportation Agency, Santa Clara County

    The Court affirmed the promotion procedures of the Agency. Justice Brennan argued that it was not unreasonable to consider sex as one factor among many in making promotion decisions, and that the Agency's actions did not create an absolute barrier to the advancement of men (a quota system did not exist).
  • City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co

    Racial quotas for awarding government contracts are not justified by general statistical evidence of inequality. The city did not investigate any race-neutral methods to correct the imbalance, nor did its 30% goal correspond to any actual measured injury.
  • Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña

    All racial classifications, imposed by whatever federal, state, or local government actor, must be analyzed by a reviewing court under a standard of "strict scrutiny," the highest level of Supreme Court review (such classifications are constitutional only if they are narrowly tailored measures that further compelling governmental interests).
  • Gratz v. Bollinger

    A state university's admission policy violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because its ranking system gave an automatic point increase to all racial minorities rather than making individual determinations. Eastern District of Michigan affirmed in part, reversed and remanded.
  • Grutter v. Bollinger

    University of Michigan Law School admissions program that gave special consideration for being a certain racial minority did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1

    The student assignment plan of Seattle Public Schools and Jefferson County Public Schools does not meet the narrowly tailored and compelling interest requirements for a race-based assignment plan because it is used only to achieve "racial balance." Public schools may not use race as the sole determining factor for assigning students to schools. Race-conscious objectives to achieve diverse school environment may be acceptable.
  • Fisher v University of Texas

    The case, brought by undergraduate Abigail Fisher in 2008, asks that the court either declare the admissions policy of the University inconsistent with, or entirely overrule Grutter v. Bollinger, a 2003 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that race could play a limited role in the admissions policies of universities.