Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Court Rules against Minority Set Asides

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Court Rules against Minority Set Asides

Article excerpt

Court rules against minority set asides

The Supreme Court followed its precedent in a case involving the City of Richmond, VA, and invalidated a Michigan law requiring that a percentage of State contracts be awarded to minority-owned or female-owned companies. The law, enacted in 1980, had specified that by 1985 each of Michigan's departments must award at least 7 percent of construction, purchasing, and service contracts to minority-owned businesses and 5 percent of contracts to female-owned businesses. In the Michigan case, the Court did not hear oral arguments or issue a written opinion.

In the Richmond case, the justices held that "equal protection of the law's" guarantee of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution restricts the right of government to establish programs favoring one race or sex over another. According to this stricture, "set aside" corrective awards of contracts are permitted only when the government unit possesses precise statistics demonstrating the extent of any discrimination that has occurred. …

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