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June 28, 1979 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-06-28

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Page 6-Thursday, June 28, 1979-The Michigan Daily

(Continued from Page 3i
used in the special preference
programs, but offered scant guidance
for lower courts as to when quotas are
AT ISSUE in Weber's case was the in-
tent of Congress when it passed one por-
tion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 called
Title 7. Weber argued - successfully in
two lower courts - that he was the vic-
tim of illegal "reverse discrimination"
because Title 7 protects whites as well
as blacks from racial bias.
But the law "does not condemn all
private, voluntary, race-conscious af-
firmative action plans," Justice
William Brennan wrote for the
He said the statute was designed in-
stead to open employment oppor-
tunities to blacks.
"IT WOULD BE ironic indeed ifa law
triggered by a nation's concern over
centuries of racial injustice and inten-
ded to improve the lot of those who had
been excluded from the American
dream for so long constituted the first

Court upholds affirmative action

legislative prohibition of all voluntary,
private, race-conscious efforts to
abolish traditional patterns of racial
segregation and hierarchy," Brennan
But Justice William Rehnquist, in a
stinging dissent joined by Chief Justice
Warren Burger, said the court's
decision betrayed the spirit of
"equality" for both races - whites and
blacks - in the act.
"There is no device more destructive
to the notion of equality than
the ... quota," which creates castes -
"a two-edged sword that must demean
one in order to prefer the other,"
Rehnquist said.
WEBER, WHO initiated the em-
ployment sequel to last year's Bakke
"reverse discrimination" college ad-
missions case, said he was surprised by
his loss. "I was pretty confidentI would
win," he told a news conference in New
Weber, a 32-year-old lab worker at
Kaiser's Gramercy, La., plant, sued in

1974 after being excluded from a craft
training program.
The on-the-job training program,
begun by Kaiser in conjunction with the
United Steelworkers union, was aimed
at landing more blacks in higher paying
THE PROGRAM accepted black and
white employees on a one-for-one basis.
For every black chosen, a white was
Had trainees been selected solely on a
seniority basis, no blacks would have
been included in the Gramercy
In 1974, 39 per cent of the local work-
force was black, and 15 per cent of
Kaiser's Gramercy plant workers were
black. But less than two per cent of the
plant's craft workers - five of 273 -
were black.
KAISER DID not blame itself for the
obvious racial disparity in skilled jobs.
It attributed the disparity to a lack of
training opportunities for blacks in the
building trades industry.
The court's decision did not discuss
sexual discrimination. But because it
was based on a federal law that bans
sexual bias as well as racial bias in em-
ployment, the ruling also represents a
big victory for the women's rights
Weber's case was seen by civil rights
leaders as potentially far more impor-
tant than last June's "Bakke" decision,
in which the court upheld the idea that
race may be taken into account in a

university's admissions decisions.
IN LAST June's decision, however,
the court ruled that Allan Bakke, who is
white, had been illegally excluded from
a California medical school. Bakke was
subsequently admitted.
The justices, by a 5-4 vote, struck
down an admissions policy that made
race the only factor in considering ap-
plications for a certain number of class
The Bakke ruling was based on a sec-
tion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
known as Title 6, which was not ad-
dressed in the Weber case. Title 6 bans
racial discrimination by institutions
receiving federal funds.
IF THE voluntary use of affirmative
action had been wiped out, civil rights
leaders said, all government efforts to
help minorities and women to improve
their status in private industry could
have been affected.
Many legal scholars believe some
laws are successful only so far as they
can stimulate voluntary compliance -
thus affecting a much wider sphere
than government agencies and the
courts can monitor.
"We need not today define in detail
the line of demarcation between per-
missible and impermissible affir-
mative action plans," Justice William
J. Brennan, Jr. wrote for the court.
"It suffices to hold that the
challenged affirmative action plan falls
on the permissible side of the line," he

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a total lack of respect
for the law!"
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Civil rights leader, unions
rejoice over Weber ruling

From AP and UPI
WASHINGTON - Organized labor
and civil rights groups welcomed the
Supreme Court decision today
upholding the right of employers to use
quotas to give blacks and members of
other racial minorities a lift up the job
Albert Zack, a spokesman for the
AFL-CIO, called the decision "a big
"It is exactly the position we took all
along - that affirmative action
programs are quite legal," Zack said.
IN LOUISVILLE, Ky., where the
National Association for the Advan-
cement of Colored People (NAACP) is
holding its 70th annual convention, Ben-
jamin Hooks, the civil rights group's
executive director, said the court's
ruling "vindicates my faith" and
"makes common sense."
"We had been looking for a decision
favorable to the affirmative action con-
cept in this nation," Hooks said.
Hooks said most union leaders
around the nation support affirmative
action. However, he conceded white
rank-and-file members might oppose
the Weber ruling.
"I'M VERY concerned about white
acceptance of this decision," Hooks
Hooks said he was fearful the case
would be headlined "reverse
discrimination upheld" and said the
civil rights organization would try to
explain to white workers the details of
the case. He said the case involved a

Louisiana community that was 49 per
cent black and a factory where less
than 25 per cent of the workers and less
than two per cent of the skilled workers
are black.
"Had we lost this case, it was our
prediction that the cause of affirmative
action would have been set back 10
years. The nation will now once again
be confronted with the reality of the
fact that we still have a long way to go,
Hooks said.
ONE OF THE NAACP's top labor ex-
perts, William Oliver of Detroit, an
NAACP executive committee member
and director of fair practice programs
for the United Auto Workers, said the
decision would prevent management
from resisting affirmative action plans
because of doubts over their legality.
Philip Kurland, a University of
Chicago authority on constitutional
law, said he was disappointed by the
decision. He called it "a step beyond
equality" and said, "Race relations are
not going to be eased," by the decision.
Leonard Walentynowicz, lawyer for
the Polish-American Congress, said:
"Our position has always been that
we believe in affirmative action, but we
believe it should be available to all
minorities, not certain select groups.
What grieves us is the court's indif-
ference to other groups besides blacks
and Hispanics ... Just because you're
white, that doesn't mean you've had it
made in the past 200 years in America."

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