ERIC Number: ED463367
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Sep-27
Reference Count: N/A
Overview of Constitutional Requirements in Race-Conscious Affirmative Action Policies in Education.
Harvard Civil Rights Project, Cambridge, MA.
Most educational institutions must meet strict legal requirements when considering race in admissions, financial aid, student assignment, and other policy decisions. Based on U.S. Supreme Court rulings, both the Equal Protection Clause and Title VI require that race-conscious policies be subject to "strict scrutiny." A court evaluates whether the policy serves a "compelling governmental interest" and is "narrowly tailored" to satisfy that interest. The courts have ruled that a "strong basis of evidence" is usually required to justify a race-conscious policy. Government interests can be divided into remedial, such as correcting past discrimination, and non-remedial, such as reducing racial isolation. The Supreme Court has held that two situations are not compelling governmental interests: remedying societal discrimination and providing role models for racial minorities. The narrow tailoring requirement evaluates whether a race-conscious policy is necessary to satisfy a compelling government interest. There is no single test for narrow tailoring, but several courts have relied on factors offered in United States v. Paradise, which upheld a court-ordered promotion plan to remedy discrimination in public employment. Judge Powell's "Bakke" opinion suggests that the use of race as a factor among several admissions factors is a narrowly tailored policy to promote educational diversity. (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Harvard Civil Rights Project, Cambridge, MA.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: United States Constitution