Publication Date

Spring 2004


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law


The practice of affirmative action has recently been at the vanguard of intense debate more than any other time in its forty-year history. A growing number of programs including quotas, preferential hiring, minority scholarships, diversity, and reverse discrimination have all been linked to affirmative action, which aims to break down the wall of segregation that excluded racial minorities and women from the workplace and in education. Two class-action lawsuits, Gratz v. Bollinger [02-516] and Gnttter v. Bollinger [02-241], filed in response to white students being denied admission to the University of Michigan's undergraduate and law school program, provided the United States Supreme Court with its best opportunity in recent years to focus on the constitutionality of adopting such admissions policies. Affirmative action policies are inconsistent with the principle of merit (the idea of attaining what you earn) and they penalize an innocent person for the alleged crimes of his or her ancestors, effectively known as reverse discrimination. Furthermore, affirmative action unfairly rewards minorities on the erroneous notion that a minority status automatically equates "disadvantage." In conclusion, an additional perspective for the case against implementing affirmative action policy within the workplace and in higher education will be presented.