The Sunset of Affirmative Action? City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co.
National Black Law Journal, Spring 1990
24 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2014
Date Written: 1990
In 1989 the Supreme Court decided City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson in which it ruled against a "minority set-aside" program which required 30 percent of any Richmond governmental construction contract be awarded to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) unless certain conditions were proven. Such set-aside programs were implemented to assist in leveling the playing field for minority-owned businesses, which businesses are especially underrepresented in the construction industry. This Comment proceeds to critically analyze the Croson decision through the lens of critical race theory. The Court's decision in this case reveals that many contemporary conservative courts do not feel "modern racism" is as extreme as "historical racism," and this disconnect is captured the reasoning employed by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing for the majority's opinion, and in Justice Thurgood Marshall's dissent. This Comment concludes by discussing how Croson will likely impact state and local governments and how such impacts will affect future affirmative action programs.
Keywords: City of Richmond v. J.A.Croson, Croson, affirmative action, minority business enterprises, set-asides, Critical Race Theory, racism
JEL Classification: J71, J78, K00, K10, K39, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation