April 11, 2012

Three cheers for the Charlotte Observer

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

The Charlotte Observer takes the Charlotte City Council to task for planning on adopting a race-based city contracting policy.  It seems that the City Council spent $300,000 on a consulting firm to determine whether Charlotte could constitutionally create race-based set-asides.  When the answer came back, “no,” the City Council spent $25,000 on a different firm to get the answer it wanted.  Lo and behold, that firm said Charlotte could institute the presumptively unconstitutional program. Here’s a snippet about what the Observer had to say about that:

If true, the city should continue to work on correcting [contracting discrepancies], but poor performance isn’t a legally sound reason to switch to a race-based hiring program. Charlotte also would need to show that the cause of that performance is direct discrimination against minority- and women-owned firms. MGT didn’t find enough evidence of that. If City Council members think it exists, we’d like to know who they believe is doing the discriminating.  [Read the rest]

Hear, Hear!  We’d like to know the same thing from CalTrans and San Francisco.  Each claims that they need to institute a race-based contracting program because of past discrimination, but neither has offered one shred of evidence of someone discriminating!  And for anyone who would like to know how a challenge to a race-based contracting program might look, here is PLF’s model brief on the issue.

What to read next