Clinton Urges Law Profession to
Promote Quotas and Preferences!
July 20, 1999 -- [Washington]
In one of his most cynical, lame-duck race-initiatives to date, Bill Clinton today
twisted the arm of the entire legal profession to support racial quotas and
Clinton trotted out all of his favorite minority hires and advocates, including Janet
Reno, Bill Lann Lee, Chris Edley, and Secretary of Transportation Slater. (He also
used the occasion to press for Senate validation of his illegal appointment of Bill Lann
Lee to the Dept. of Justice Office of Civil Rights.)
He called upon the entire legal profession to specifically provide special
treatment and preference to minorities and women, both in hiring and in
providing pro bono services.
Incredibly, Clinton issued a call for what amounts to a boycott of law firms owned by
white males. He urged clients and law firms alike to use (or subcontract to) more
minority-owned and women-owned law firms and fewer white-owned firms. Can you
imagine the hue and cry if he issued such a racist, call for a boycott of minority-owned
For the complete, unedited speech from the White House Press Office, See Official Transcript.
Clinton to Pitch Quotas to ABA Convention Aug. 9, 1999: Clinton is expected
to preach his new "legal profession quotas" at the annual ABA convention in
Atlanta this August. With one of America's most militantly pro-quota cities as his
backdrop, Clinton will be be able to lobby the 10,000 lawyers who are expected to
Atlanta is a fine venue for Clinton's lawyer-race-discrimination initiative: Atlanta
Mayor Bill Campbell has publicly vowed to "do whatever it takes" to resist court
decisions and lawsuits against racial quotas in Atlanta's contracting and employment.
Atlanta's official quota policy is to exclude white-owned businesses from a minimum of 35
percent of city contracts. The set-aside program is rife with corruption; both
minority and white business owners here acknowledge that Atlanta's set-aside program is
nothing more than a patronage system under which a high percentage of the
"set-aside" business goes to a small handful of wealthy minority businesses.
Bill Clinton should feel right at home in Atlanta.
|Similar / Related:
Debate on race hits ABA at Atlanta
Conference (08/09/99 - expired link)
"The heated debate over affirmative action sweeping through Atlanta in recent weeks
still resonates loudly across the country, as evidenced by fiery rhetoric at the American
Bar Association's annual meeting here Sunday. A number of the nation's lawyers and law
professors attending an ABA panel discussion on the issue engaged in shouting matches that
included recitations on the history of slavery and discrimination against blacks.
"... Abolishing all racial preference programs runs the risk of returning the country
to "a separate-but-equal society," said Anthony Upshaw, a Miami lawyer. If only
a handful of blacks gain admission to the best universities, most will attend lower-tier
schools and have limited job opportunities, he said. In the thick of the debate sat Gail
Heriot, a University of San Diego professor and backer of Proposition 209, the ballot
initiative passed in California in 1996 that banned racial and ethnic preferences in
hiring, admissions and contracts. Heriot was in the minority among attendees of a panel
discussion, held in the Georgia World Congress Center, that focused primarily on the use
of affirmative action in college admissions. Heriot urged for the abolition of
preferences, contending they stigmatize the minority group members who receive
them." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 08/09/99 by Bill Rankin)
Similar/Related: Clinton urges lawyers fight racism (07/20/99 - dead
"President Clinton evoked the social idealism of his youth Tuesday as he renewed an
activist challenge to America's lawyers that was first voiced by Clinton's political hero,
John F. Kennedy, three decades ago. Lawyers, now as then, can help minorities and
the poor benefit more from American democracy and prosperity, Clinton said at a White
House gathering patterned after Kennedy's 1963 civil rights challenge to the legal
profession. "The struggle for one America today is more complex than it was 36 years
ago, more subtle than it seemed to us that it would be back then,'' Clinton said. He
announced a series of commitments aimed at promoting opportunities for minorities in the
legal profession, and said he also wants to bolster minorities' faith in the legal system.
The commitments were worked out among the White House, Justice Department, bar
associations, law schools and private sector attorneys over the past year. ... Under the
commitments announced Tuesday:
- The American Bar Association will expand
programs for corporations to hire more minority law firms, encourage more lawyers to
provide free legal services to the poor and provide financial and mentoring assistance to
minority law students.
- The American Corporate Counsel Association will
promote corporate "pro bono,'' or free, services and provide resources so that
corporate counsels can implement diversity and pro bono services on the local level.
- Some leading law firms will pledge that lawyers
will spend 50 hours per year, or 3 percent of billable time, performing pro bono services
for nonwhites or working in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
- The American Association of Law Schools will
promote lessons in racial justice and public service and encourage students to volunteer
in minority communities." (Associated Press, via FoxNews, 07/20/99 by Anne Gearan)
[Same AP story at: http://www.phillynews.com/inquirer/99/Jul/21/national/LAWYER21.htm
[Similar at: http://www.lawnewsnetwork.com/stories/A3582-1999Jul19.html
Similar/Related: Clinton Challenges Lawyers To Speed Race Diversity (07/20/99 - dead link)
"President Clinton, recalling the civil rights steps President John F. Kennedy took
36 years ago, challenged America's legal community Tuesday to ensure greater racial
diversity within its ranks. At a White House East Room event, Clinton announced a
number of organizations, including the American Bar Association, had agreed to take steps
to improve diversity in a profession dominated by whites. A major ABA initiative
will involve lawyers, academics, law firms and bar associations throughout the country in
work such as providing financial assistance to law students and mentoring students and
young lawyers. ... "Just as your predecessors, with the Constitution as their shield,
stared down the sheriffs of segregation, you must step forward to dismantle our time's
most stubborn obstacles to equal justice: poverty, unemployment, and, yes,
continuing discrimination,'' Clinton told representatives from the legal community at the
event and members of his race advisory board. ...
"Now, he said, the struggle for a racially harmonious America is more complex than it
was in 1963, when the clear enemy was segregation and hatred. Now it is expanding
opportunity for all people regardless of color." (FoxNews 07/20/99)
Be sure to also see the Official Transcript of
Counterpoint: Black Businesses Do NOT Hire
Black Law Firms! (07/19/99)
"As black corporate America gets richer, black law firms are standing outside with
their noses pressed against the windowpane. Black lawyers, particularly members of
the National Bar Association's commercial law division, say there is, at the very least, a
bit of irony in the fact that many of the black entrepreneurs who have benefited from
civil rights laws, federal minority business development programs and the steady patronage
of African-American consumers haven't done more to send business their way. Black-owned
companies are prospering, says Black Enterprise magazine, which publishes annual rankings
by sales of the leading companies that are at least 51% black-owned.
"The National Law Journal asked the top 25 corporations on the magazine's 1999
Industrial/Service 100 (the B.E. 100) to name the law firms that they used most often in
the past 12 months and then called the firms with follow-up questions. The findings
confirm what lawyers at black-owned firms say they've been grousing about in private
circles for some time: White males at majority law firms are getting the bulk of the
business from black companies.
"Eleven of the top 25 black-owned companies send all or most of their legal work to
white lawyers at some of the biggest firms in the country, such as Chicago's Winston &
Strawn, Philadelphia's Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis L.L.P. and Baltimore's
Venerable, Baetjer and Howard L.L.P. Five of the top 25 rely exclusively on a black
partner at a white law firm. Only two send all or the bulk of their matters to black-owned
law firms. "A number of African-American-owned companies have been built in response
to the push for affirmative action," says Mr. Pope, "yet they have not practiced
affirmative action in their own business dealings. If those firms are not allotting some
business to African-American law firms...then they're doing a disservice to the community
and themselves."" (The National Law Journal, 07/19/99 by Arthur S. Hayes)
Legal Resources on
the Internet: Part I
NEW! Adversity.Net (Legal Help, this site): Adversity.Net's own list of "legal help /
resources" -- If you have been a victim of reverse discrimination, and you are
looking for a law firm to represent you, this Web page is for you!
Legal Resources on
the Internet: Part II
LSU Dept. of Political Science maintains this comprehensive list of links to legal
citations, landmark decisions, human rights cases, and a few links dealing with reverse
Supreme Court: Next President (2000)
Can Replace 3 Conservative Justices (Pay Site - 07/19/99)
[Three Conservative High
Court Justices are likely to retire during the next few years, which gives the next
President of the United States an extraordinary opportunity to shape the High Court.
This article argues that this is reason enough to elect Texas Governor George W.
Bush, the favored Republican and anti-preferences candidate for President 2000. Here
is what Wall Street Journal writer Paul A. Gigot writes...]
" ... The Supreme Court justices can't endorse the Texas governor [George W. Bush for
President], but they don't have to. Their advancing ages (74, 79 and 69) are
endorsement enough. That all three may retire in the next president's term is one of
the most crucial, if least advertised, factors in Mr. Bush's so far downhill roll to the
GOP nomination. This is also the paradox of Mr. Bush's surprisingly large support on
the right. Mr. Smith said this week he's quitting the GOP because he thinks it has
abandoned principle for pragmatism.
"But it's precisely because of principle that so many conservatives have become
pragmatic this year. They feel the stakes are so large in 2000 that they can't afford to
lose. ... That's especially true among the social and judicial conservatives who
care about the Supreme Court. One of them is Alex Acosta, who is about to embark on
a 35-city tour for the Federalist Society to advertise what's at stake. 'My sincere
belief is that judicial selection will be the next president's most lasting legacy,' he
says. One of his themes will be that eight years of Clinton appointments will have
put the entire federal bench in precarious ideological balance. On the Supreme
Court, conservatives hold a mere 5-4 majority on a host of culture-war questions.
Replace Chief Justice Rehnquist with any Al Gore appointee and the 1995 Adarand case
barring racial set-asides will be overturned. And forget about further progress in
limiting federal power over states, or expanding property rights and religious liberties.
... Mr. Acosta helped write the judicial chapter in Dan Quayle's new policy book but has
since signed on with the Texan. "I can't think of anyone who's not backing Bush"
on the legal right, he says.
"Libertarian legal activist Clint Bolick, who was recruited by Steve Forbes, has also
joined the Bush policy team. Even Ward Connerly endorsed Mr. Bush this month,
though Mr. Bush won't return the favor by endorsing Mr. Connerly's referendums to ban
racial preferences. Mr. Connerly says he hopes Mr. Bush will come around eventually
and use 'the tremendous goodwill' he's building up among minorities to change the quota
debate. And of course make the right judicial picks. ... 'Except for Souter, there
is nothing that [former president George Bush, Sr.] did better than judges,' says Mr.
Bolick. Justice Clarence Thomas was a home run and President Bush's lower court
picks were as conservative as the Gipper's. On the other hand, a May 10 article in
'Texas Lawyer' on George W.'s Texas appointees certainly leaves room for doubt. The
usually critical publication praises his judicial choices as 'political moderates' whose
strength is 'character' not 'ideology.' This is what liberals like to say about Mr.
Souter. ... 'Conservatives recognize that a lot of their gains in the last 20 years have
come in the courts,' says Mr. Bolick. ...
"Alas for Bob Smith, this is the real reason so many conservatives have adopted
football owner Al Davis' motto--'Just win, baby.'" (Wall Street Journal posted
07/19/99 by Paul A. Gigot)
[pay site link: http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB93207747175472034.htm
Supreme Court: Ruling is Mixed Bag for Punitives in Discrimination Cases
(06/23/99 - dead link)
WASHINGTON -- "A Supreme Court ruling Tuesday in an important civil rights case made
it unlikely that many employees who bring successful discrimination suits against their
employers will be able to collect punitive damages, a remedy that Congress made available
for the first time when it amended the Civil Rights Act in 1991.
"The 5-4 decision held that when a company has made "good-faith efforts" to
comply with the civil rights law, it cannot be required to pay punitive damages for the
discriminatory actions of managers who violate company policy.
"The case began as a lawsuit against the American Dental Association by a woman who
was passed over for a high-level position in the organization's Washington office in favor
of a man with less experience.
"A jury in U.S. District Court [in Washington, DC] found in 1996 that the plaintiff,
Carole Kolstad, had been the victim of intentional sex discrimination and awarded her back
pay of $52,718. But the judge would not permit the jury to consider an award of punitive
damages, and the case turned into a battle over what circumstances Congress had in mind
when it amended Title VII in 1991 and made punitive damages of up to $300,000 available in
cases of intentional discrimination in which the employer acted "with malice or with
reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of an aggrieved individual."
"In its 6-5 decision last year, the District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals held
that punitive damages were available only when the employer's behavior was particularly
"egregious" -- a word that did not appear in the statute and which, the
dissenting judges objected, reflected an effort by the majority to limit the law by
effectively rewriting it.
"Ms. Kolstad's Supreme Court appeal, Kolstad v. American Dental Association, No.
98-208, focused entirely on the "egregious conduct" standard -- an argument that
she in fact won Tuesday. Seven justices, all except Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and
Justice Clarence Thomas, agreed that the law did not make egregious conduct a prerequisite
to punitive damages." (New York Times, 06/23/99, by Linda Greenhouse)
|Related / Similar Story:
Supreme Court: Court helps on-the-job discrimination victims get punitive damages
(06/22/99 - dead link)
"WASHINGTON (AP) The Supreme Court made it somewhat easier Tuesday for victims
of job discrimination to force their employer to pay extra damages as punishment, a
decision advocates for both employers and employees found reason to praise.
"Ruling 7-2 in the case of a woman denied a promotion because of her sex, the court
said job-bias victims can collect so-called punitive damages without having to show their
employer's conduct was "egregious.''
"But by a separate 5-4 vote in the same case, the justices said employers cannot be
forced to pay such damages if a manager's discriminatory conduct runs counter to the
employer's good-faith efforts to run a bias-free workplace. 'This is a good decision
for employers, in particular the part... that says employers' anti-discrimination policies
should be taken into account,' said Robert E. Williams of the Equal Employment Advisory
Council, an association of about 300 large corporations.
"At issue was the availability of damage awards intended to punish or deter
misconduct. A federal appeals court said such awards are never available unless an
employee can prove the employer's conduct was egregious.
"But the Supreme Court ruled that standard is too high and is not required by a
federal anti-bias law known as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars
employment discrimination based on race, sex, national origin and religion.
"Tuesday's decision ordered a federal appeals court to restudy the case of Carole
Kolstad, who is seeking punitive damages from the Chicago-based American Dental
Association for failing to promote her because of her sex." (Associated Press
06/22/99, via FoxNews, by Laurie Asseo, AP)
What is Your Job-Bias Liability?
(02/08/99 - dead link)
"Companies can be totally committed to equal opportunity and still get blindsided by
a plaintiff's attorney with new strategies and a nose for big bucks.
"So what exactly has changed? First, ponder the standard-model antidiscrimination
suit that employers dealt with in the first quarter-century after the 1964 Civil Rights
Act was passed. It typically involved job applicants who had been turned down and claimed
they were victims of hiring procedures with an adverse impact on racial minorities or
women. They often came into court with statistics designed to prove this impact, and often
prevailed even when the employer clearly had no intention of discriminating; what mattered
was the effect, not the intent. Such cases were often supported, or initiated, by the
federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They were weighed by federal judges, not
juries. Companies found guilty of discrimination were liable for back-pay awards, but not
for punitive damages.
"Several events have combined to transform this familiar scenario. One was the Civil
Rights Act of 1991. Reading over the contemporaneous arguments about this legislation, one
is struck today by how just about everybody misjudged its main effects. The Bush
Administration, which supported the act, pointed to various features that worked against
racial quotas in hiringparticularly the law's ban on "race-norming" in
employment tests. (Race-norming adds bonus points to the scores of minority job
applicants.) The Democratic Congress that passed the law liked it because it reversed
Supreme Court decisions that had restricted affirmative action." (Forbes,
02/08/99, by Dan Seligman)
Misc. Legal Articles and Analyses
Avowed Racist Barred from
Practicing Law (02/10/99 - dead link)
"All it takes is a phone call to find out where Matthew Hale stands. "You have
reached the most dynamic pro-white organization on planet Earth," says the greeting
on his answering machine, before launching into a 10-minute racist and anti-Semitic
diatribe condemning the idea of "the equality of the races" as "patently
"In large part to foster and spread these opinions, Hale, 27, from East Peoria, wants
to be a lawyer. "I want to be an advocate for white people in the court room,"
said Hale, who heads a white-supremacist organization called the World Church of the
Creator. "I can't name one attorney, for example, who is an open racist, and that's
what I am."
"But because he makes no bones about his views and goals, Hale, who has completed law
school and passed the state bar, has been denied a license to practice law in Illinois by
a state panel that evaluates the character and fitness of prospective lawyers. (NY
Times, 02/10/99, by Pam Belluck)
Free speech at heart of denial of law license to racist
grad (02/08/99) (dead link)
"In three years of law school Matt Hale made decent grades, participated in student
groups, played violin in two orchestras -- and worked to revive a white supremacist group
that advocates 'racial holy war.'
"A state panel that reviews the 'character and fitness' of prospective lawyers says
that's reason enough to refuse Hale a law license. That ruling in turn has prompted debate
about the balance between free speech and an attorney's obligation to uphold the nation's
bedrock belief of equal justice under the law.
"Hale's effort to gain a law license has attracted some unlikely supporters,
including the Anti-Defamation League and renowned attorney Alan Dershowitz, who says he
may help Hale appeal the inquiry panel's ruling. 'Character committees should not
become thought police,' Dershowitz said. 'It's not the content of the thoughts
I'm defending, it's the freedom of everybody to express their views and to become
lawyers.' " (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 02/08/99, by Tara Burghardt)
Sharon Taxman: Background and Analysis (dead link)
The NJ school board fired her for being white. The Supreme Court was set to decide
in her favor. Here is some background on the town (Piscataway, NJ), and the white
and black teacher.
Affirmative Action - Current
Events - Law - 11/10/97
Brief history of legal success of Calif. Prop. 209. Review of recent legal decisions
upholding legality and constitutionality of California's Proposition 209...
and Identity Politics: From Political Correctness to Constitutional Law
James Boyle © 1997 "The clerks have adopted political passions." This article
takes the unsatisfying debates over political correctness as the starting point for a
discussion of a set of fundamental philosophical and political assumptions about life,
justice and knowledge.
Jury Nullification: Judge Gives Felon a "Pass" for Being Black!
(05/07/99 - dead link)
(By Clint Bolick, litigation director at the Institute for Justice in Washington, DC) --
"When convicted felon Alexander Leviner decided to go on a joy ride and fire shots
into the air, he should have expected the law to come down hard on him. Federal sentencing
guidelines provide a maximum six-year sentence for a felon possessing a firearm.
"But Leviner got lucky: The
book the judge threw at him was filled not with law but sociological statistics. Leviner
was sentenced to a mere 30 months - not because of any doubt of his guilt or allegations
of police improprieties, but because blacks in general are more likely to be stopped for
"With this decision by a
Boston federal judge appointed by President Clinton, Nancy Gertner, race-based affirmative
action has seeped into criminal law.
"Whatever the costs of racial
preferences in other areas, the cost of introducing them into our criminal justice system
"The facts of Levener's case
are simple. After reports that shots had been fired, police observed a speeding car
leaving the area without headlights. After stopping it and finding that the registration
did not match the vehicle, the police searched the passengers, including Leviner, and
found a gun, 14 rounds of ammunition, and a shell casing. Leviner pleaded guilty of being
a felon in possession of a firearm.
"By the time of sentencing, Leviner had already been convicted of two drug-related
felonies and four minor traffic and drug offenses. Federal sentencing guidelines provide
sentencing formulas that direct judges to take past offenses into account.
"But Gertner discounted
Leviner's past offenses, reducing Leviner's sentence by more than half, based on
"(s)tudies from a number of scholars" that "have focused on the fact that
African American motorists are stopped and prosecuted for traffic stops, more than any
other citizens." No evidence was presented that race was a factor in this case, or in
any of Leviner's previous offenses.
"What makes this
"affirmative action" is that Leviner received a break not because of any claim
relating to him as an individual, but because of his racial statistics. That concept is
alien to criminal law, which by definition focuses on the culpability of individual
"Gertner's view of systemic
racism echoes a 1996 ruling by another federal judge appointed by Clinton, Harold Baer,
who suppressed evidence from a police narcotics search on grounds that it should not raise
suspicion when inner-city residents flee from police. Baer subsequently overturned his own
decision in the face of a strong public outcry.
"On a broader scale, groups
like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund are trying to abolish capital punishment on the basis of
racial statistics, even though plentiful opportunities already exist to raise claims of
racial bias in individual cases.
"Importing affirmative action
into criminal law is toxic. Inevitably, it means that people who are guilty of
crimes will not pay the full cost of their crimes, to the detriment of everyone but most
particularly inner-city minorities, who are disproportionately victimized by crime.
"It is true that racial
"disparities" exist in police stops, arrests and convictions. Reports suggest
that one of every three young black male adults is in jail or on probation (in the
nation's capital, the figure is one in two).
"But the disparities are even
greater for criminal victimization: blacks are 6.4 times more likely than whites to die by
homicide. Indeed, homicide has become the leading cause of death among young black males.
"True affirmative action
requires stricter, not more lenient, law enforcement in minority communities. As in
other contexts such as employment and education, racial preferences in the criminal
justice system treat symptoms rather than underlying problems. Just as adding points to
students' test scores in the college admissions process does nothing to remedy problems in
the K-12 education system, absolving criminals of the full consequences of their lawless
behavior does not redress real problems in the criminal justice system.
"Indeed, it further injures the very racial groups who need effective law enforcement
the most. Real solutions abound. In my recent book, "Transformation," I urge
devolving law-enforcement to the neighborhood level. That would deliver resources and
authority to those who have the greatest stake in the community, reducing the likelihood
of abuses and fostering respect for the rule of law. Likewise, we should prohibit
the use of racial profiles by police.
"And if the federal sentencing
guidelines are too rigid and arbitrary, we should change them. But what our society
must never tolerate are courts that apply principles of sociology rather than the rule of
law. For when they do, we really have no law - or freedom - at all.
(Clint Bolick is litigation director at the Institute for Justice in Washington and author
"Transformation: The Promise and Politics of Empowerment" (ICS Press).
Jury Nullification: Jurors
Use Racial Sympathy Instead of Points of Law! (02/08/99 - dead)
"In courthouses across the country, an unprecedented level of juror activism is
taking hold, ignited by a movement of people who are turning their back on the evidence
they hear at trial and instead using the jury box as a bold form of civil protest.
"Whether they are African Americans who believe the system is stacked against them,
libertarians who abhor the overbearing hand of government or someone else altogether,
these jurors are choosing to ignore a judge's instructions to punish those who break the
law because they don't like what it says or how it is being applied to a particular
"In the recent case against former agriculture secretary Mike Espy, accused of
accepting illegal gratuities, independent counsel Donald C. Smaltz asked the judge to
specifically instruct jurors not to consider the fact that Espy is African American.
Smaltz said he was making the request because Espy's lawyer suggested to jurors that Espy
was prosecuted because he is black. Racial arguments, Smaltz said, are "an attempt to
encourage the jury to acquit the defendant regardless" of his guilt. Smaltz was
turned down, but the daring strategy comes as fresh evidence that prosecutors increasingly
believe they need to head off social vindication in the jury box.
"(Espy was eventually acquitted in December of all charges by a jury of 11 blacks and
one white, and all of the jurors questioned afterward said it was not race that led to
their verdict but their belief that Smaltz's corruption charges were
overblown.)" Excellent Washington Post article, includes lots of other famous
'nullification' cases, including O.J. Simpson's trial. (Washington Post, 02/08/99,
page A1, by Joan Biskupic)
Canada (Toronto): Jurors
can be eliminated for bias against minorities (dead link)
"Three accused drug traffickers jailed for life in a $145-million heroin seizure have
won new trials because a judge would not allow jurors to be screened for possible bias
against Asians, the Court of Appeal has ruled. Yesterday's decision extends the existing
Parks screening process for juror prejudice involving black defendants to cover all
visible minorities." (Toronto Sun 12-31-98)
Federal Court, 3rd Circuit: Anti-Quota Judge Higginbotham, Jr. Dead at 70 (12/15/98 - dead
"Former federal judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., 70, a giant of a jurist and scholar
whose court rulings and scholarly writings and whole life helped to discredit what he
called "the jurisprudence of race," died yesterday at Massachusetts General
Hospital in Boston after a massive stroke." (Philadelphia Inquirer 12-15-98)
(U.S. Supreme Court): Minorities and Preferences
Supporters Avoid High Court (02/08/99)
"The Supreme Court used to be the legal haven of choice for the civil rights
movement, the place to go for a sympathetic hearing and strengthened protections for
minorities. No more. For the second time in 15 months, traditional civil rights
groups last week worked behind the scenes to keep a key affirmative action case away from
the nation's highest court, for fear of an adverse ruling.
"The Boston School Board, at the urging of civil rights groups, decided not to appeal
a lower court ruling against an admission policy that boosted minority enrollment at its
renowned Boston Latin School.
" 'There is too much at stake to risk pulling down affirmative action nationwide at
the hands of a closely divided court,' says Ted Shaw of the NAACP Legal Defense and
Educational Fund [a Bill Lann Lee protege].
"In November 1997, Shaw and other civil rights leaders also persuaded the Piscataway,
N.J., school board to yank from the Supreme Court's docket a case involving the layoff of
a white teacher that left a black teacher with equal seniority in place to promote
" 'They're playing duck and run with the diversity issue, because they know they're
on constitutional thin ice,' says Clint Bolick of the Institute for Justice, which
opposes [race-based preferences]. 'The last thing they want is a Supreme Court
ruling on the issue.' " (USA Today, 02/08/99, by Tony Mauro)
(U.S. Supreme Court): High
Court Refuses Blacks' Redlining Suit (dead link) (01/19/99)
"The Supreme Court today refused to revive a massive civil rights lawsuit against
many of the nation's largest insurance companies filed in behalf of 93,000 homeowners
living in predominantly black neighborhoods of St. Louis and Kansas City. The
justices, without comment, left intact [lower court] rulings that threw out the
"The 1996 lawsuit accused insurance companies of discriminatory 'redlining' --
refusing to sell homeowners insurance on equal terms based on the racial composition of
their neighborhoods." Significantly absent from the press coverage of this
case is any argument that such neighborhoods might actually represent greater risk, and
therefore justify either higher premiums or lower coverage. For example, my
insurance premiums for living in Maryland are significantly lower than if I lived one mile
farther south in Washington, DC. Why is that? It is because violent crime,
vandalism, burglaries, and other property crimes happen at a MUCH higher rate in
Washington, DC than they do in Silver Spring, Maryland! Therefore I pay lower
premiums because I represent a lower risk because I live one mile farther north, in
Maryland. [Editor] (Associated Press via PostNet, 01/19/99, by Richard
Massachusetts (Boston): Judge reduces sentence because defendant is black (dead link)
U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner creates her own law. Citing anecdotal evidence
that black men are stopped by police more often than white men, Gertner gave defendant
Alexander Leviner a lighter sentence. U.S. Attorney's office cites this as a
dangerous trend of injecting race into the sentencing process. "Leviner was arrested
about 3 a.m. on Sept. 14, 1997, after Boston police stopped the car in which he was
riding. Police said they were investigating a report of shots fired near Homestead
Street in Roxbury and had stopped the red Nissan because it was driving fast, with its
lights off. Police found a gun on the car floor near where Leviner was sitting along
with a spent shell casing and ammunition." (Boston Globe 12/20/98)
|Related Stories 12/23/98 -- See Also:
An Appalling Ruling in Boston
(12/23/98 - dead)
Alexander Leviner is a convicted felon. He has a drug possession charge on his
record, he has thrice been convicted of driving without his license, AND Mr. Leviner most
recently was charged -- and convicted of -- being a felon in possession of a firearm,
which is a federal offense. "Judge Gertner decided to give the felon a break
because, she said, research 'strongly suggests that there is racial disparity in the rates
at which African-Americans are stopped' " for traffic violations. The
"disparate impact" theory is one of the most questionable ideas in contemporary
jurisprudence. (New York Post Editorial, posted 12/23/98)
New York (Manhattan): Frivolous Discrimination Suit Dismissed; Plaintiffs
Must Pay! (dead link)
U.S. District Judge took the unusual action of ordering seven black employees to pay
$14,000 in legal fees to the defendant, and their lawyers must pay $20,000. During
and after discovery in their racial discrimination law suit, one by one each of the seven
black employees admitted their claims were baseless and dropped their suit. However,
the Judge ruled they and their lawyers must pay back the substantial legal fees incurred
by the defendant, Credit Lyonnais, an international investment bank whose North American
headquarters are in New York. (Law News Network 12-11-98)
Texas (Houston): District Court
Refuses Transit Authority Racial Contracting Quotas!
Legal Opinion (i.e., kinda dense reading): United States District
Court, Southern District of Texas. Houston Contractors Association, Plaintiff vs.
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Defendant. The Judge overturned the
Harris County (Houston) Transit Authority's Racial Set-Aside Contracting Policies.
The Judge wrote "...basing governmental action on race offends the American
Constitution." (Houston Chronicle 11/14/97)
END Legal News OLDER Stories