Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


This essay is adapted from the article "Class-Based Affinnative Action: Lessons and Caveats," which originally appeared in 74 Texas Law Review 1847. Copyright 1996 by the Texas Law Review Association. Reprinted by pennission. For a complete version with all citations please contact the editor of Law Quadrangle Notes.

When the Supreme Court applied "strict scrutiny" to federal race-based affirmative action programs in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena (1995), it suggested that the constitutional-law coast remains clear for affirmative action programs based on relative economic disadvantage - usually called "class-based" affirmative action. "Class, not race" is a conservative war cry in contemporary American politics. But it should not be forgotten that legal thinkers on the left have long sought the legal recognition of economic inequality - or, even better, of "class" - as a force in American life and that Adarand is a step in that direction.