RICHMOND v. J.A. CROSON CO.

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
87-998
Appellee 
J.A. Croson Co.
Appellant 
Richmond
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellee)
(Argued the cause for the appellant)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

In 1983, the City Council of Richmond, Virginia adopted regulations that required companies awarded city construction contracts to subcontract 30 percent of their business to minority business enterprises. The J.A. Croson Company, which lost its contract because of the 30 percent set-aside, brought suit against the city.

Question 

Did the Richmond law violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for J.A. Croson Co., 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that "generalized assertions" of past racial discrimination could not justify "rigid" racial quotas for the awarding of public contracts. Justice O'Connor's opinion noted that the 30 percent quota could not be tied to "any injury suffered by anyone," and was an impermissible employment of a suspect classification. O'Connor further held that allowing claims of past discrimination to serve as the basis for racial quotas would actually subvert constitutional values: "The dream of a Nation of equal citizens in a society where race is irrelevant to personal opportunity and achievement would be lost in a mosaic of shifting preferences based on inherently unmeasurable claims of past wrongs."

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RICHMOND v. J.A. CROSON CO.. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 10 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1988/1988_87_998>.
RICHMOND v. J.A. CROSON CO., The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1988/1988_87_998 (last visited September 10, 2014).
"RICHMOND v. J.A. CROSON CO.," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 10, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1988/1988_87_998.