Friday, May 27, 2005
On this day:

A Victory for Equal Protection

U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson has ruled that state agencies must end their policies of race-based hiring and promotions, at least temporarily. The state was forced by a federal judge to adopt the discriminatory policies in 1970.
The late U.S. District Judge Frank Johnson ruled in a job discrimination suit in 1970 that the state could not hire or promote a white person from a list of certified applicants if a higher-ranking black was on the list and available for work.

When the case began, blacks comprised one-fourth of Alabama's population and were underrepresented in state government. According to the state Personnel Department, the state work force was 15.6 percent black in 1976, but it was 39.5 percent black in 2004.

"The continued implementation of race-conscious, indeterminate, across-the-board no-bypass rule without any recent court review and reauthorization during its extended existence is, on its face, unconstitutional," Thompson wrote.

Thompson said he will accept written evidence and arguments in the case until Sept. 19 before deciding whether to strike down the rule permanently. (AP)