Civil Rights Today

Clockwise from upper right: CIR clients Barbara Grutter, Katuria Smith, Patrick Hamacher, Jennifer Gratz

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IR’s civil rights cases are designed to get the government out of the business of granting preferential treatment to members of favored racial groups. Just as the First Amendment prohibits the government from favoring the expression of certain points of view, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the government from enforcing its laws, rules, and polices differently solely on account of the race of an individual.

“I HAVE A DREAM THAT MY FOUR CHILDREN WILL ONE DAY LIVE IN A NATION WHERE THEY WILL NOT BE JUDGED BY THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN BUT BY THE CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER. I HAVE A DREAM TODAY.”
-DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING

CIR’s civil rights agenda reflects the reality that the American civil rights movement has all but collapsed. Whereas civil rights leaders formerly sought equality of treatment and redress for discrimination, now the movement is consumed with achieving proportional representation in all areas of American life, increasingly under the slippery idea of “diversity.”

Instead of judging individuals by the same standard regardless of race, civil rights organizations now pressure state-run schools and government agencies to employ separate, race-based standards calculated to produce racially proportional outcomes in university admission, government employment, and government contracting.

CIR fills the void

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR

CIR has waged a comprehensive legal campaign against all major forms of racial double standards by challenging the constitutionality of racial proportionalism, exposing the extent to which racial double standards have become embedded in government programs, and demonstrating the harms caused to individuals of all races by these policies.

CIR takes on race at universities

Hopwood information page

Smith information page
Michigan information page

Following its 1996 victory in Hopwood v. Texas, which struck down the dual admissions systems of the University of Texas Law School, CIR has challenged similar policies at the University of Washington (Smith v. University of Washington) the University of Michigan Undergraduate College of Literature, Sciences and the Arts (Gratz v. Bollinger), and the University of Michigan Law School (Grutter v. Bollinger). CIR’s goal was to put the issue of racial double standards before the country and the Supreme Court.

While the publicity that the Michigan cases received exposed the fraud of race-based admissions to the whole country, the final Supreme Court rulings fell far short of CIR’s goal of eliminating race as a factor in admissions.

“NO STATE SHALL… DENY TO ANY PERSON WITHIN ITS JURISDICTION THE EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS.”
-14TH AMENDMENT TO THE US CONSTITUTION

The Michigan decisions are contrary to the legal standard of strict scrutiny that the Supreme Court applies to all other racial classifications. The idea that the state may apply different standards of evaluation to members of certain racial groups is plainly inconsistent with the notion of individual rights embodied in the Constitution, most particularly in the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Government hiring and contracting

University admissions is just one important way in which the government discriminates on the basis of race, CIR’s goal, however, is to put an end to all racial preferences. It is not any one particular preference that CIR seeks to abolish. Rather, CIR is opposed to the principle that government may judge individuals differently on account of their race. CIR will continue to confront all race preferences until the government truly operates on the principle that all people be treated equally.

In addition to cases challenging race preferences in college admissions, CIR continues its campaign of litigation against the use of racial preferences in government contracting in Dynalantic v. DOD. Finally, CIR is actively challenging the use of consent decrees by the U.S. Department of Justice to force state and local police, fire, and education agencies to employ what amount to permanent hiring and promotion preferences in U.S. v. NYC Board of Education.

CIR has also recently taken on the Department of Justice because it has refused to grant preclearance to Kinston, North Carolina, to implement a nonpartisan voting system. In LaRoque et al. v. Eric Holder, CIR is representing individual citizens, prospective candidates, referendum organizers, and a citizens group in a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The nonpartisan voting system that Kinston desires to implement is employed by the large majority of other municipalities in North Carolina and was approved by Kinston voters by a two-to-one margin. The district court is now considering the plaintiffs’ and the government’s motions for summary judgment.

 

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