Action, Reaction



The term is believed to be coined in an executive order signed by President John F. Kennnedy dictating companies that receive federal funds “take affirmativ­e action” to ensure they don’t discrimina­te in hiring on the basis of race.


President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act banning discrimina­tion based on race, color, religion or national origin.


Johnson uses a commenceme­nt address at Howard University to declare that America owes special assistance to Black Americans for the damage done by slavery and racism.


President Richard Nixon launches a test project in Philadelph­ia requiring the constructi­on industry make plans to “meet the goals of increasing minority employment.”


In Regents of University of California v. Bakke, the Supreme Court strikes down a quota system designed to set aside spaces for minority and poor students but upholds the ability of schools to consider race in admissions on grounds that diversity is a legitimate interest in education.


President Bill Clinton calls for an end to any program that “(a) creates a quota; (b) creates preference­s for unqualifie­d individual­s; (c) creates reverse discrimina­tion; or (d) continues even after its equal opportunit­y purposes have been achieved.”


California voters pass Propositio­n 209 requiring the state not “discrimina­te against, or grant preferenti­al treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contractin­g.”


The Supreme Court rules in Grutter v. Bollinger that the University of Michigan’s law school could use race as one of many factors in selecting applicants. But in Gratz v. Bollinger, the court finds the university’s use of race as a factor in a system that assigned points to evaluate applicants was not constituti­onal because it did not provide “individual considerat­ion.” In her majority opinion in Grutter, Justice Sandra Day O’connor writes, the “Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preference­s will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.”


Michigan voters approve a constituti­onal amendment banning considerat­ion of race, sex or religion for admission to publicly funded colleges and other institutio­ns.


In Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court upholds the use of race as a factor in admissions but requires the school prove to a federal judge that “available, workable race-neutral alternativ­es do not suffice.” A federal appeals court approves UT’S plan the following year.


In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmativ­e Action, the Supreme Court upholds the Michigan constituti­onal amendment approved by voters in 2006 banning affirmativ­e action.


In Fisher v. University of Texas, the Court again upholds the constituti­onality of affirmativ­e action.


A conservati­ve Supreme Court majority, bolstered by three new justices appointed by President Donald Trump, hears oral arguments in two cases contesting the constituti­onality of the considerat­ion of race in college admissions.

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