U.S. Solicitor-General Ted Olson argued yesterday that the U.S. Supreme Court should dismiss Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Mineta, a case challenging affirmative action in federal contracting, or uphold the affirmative action policy as constitutional. Olson’s argument came as a surprise to many familiar with the Solicitor-General’s anti-affirmative action stance. In his brief to the Court, Olson asserted that Adarand had not demonstrated that it had been adversely affected by affirmative action.
Adarand Constructors, Inc. originally filed a lawsuit when the company lost a guardrail construction bid to a Latino-owned company despite Adarand’s ability to make a lower bid for the job. The Supreme Court responded in a 1995 ruling that narrowed the scope of federal affirmative action programs. The Department of Transportation revised its program, which a federal appeals court ruled met the Supreme Court’s standards for constitutionality. Adarand, however, has challenged the revised policy, claiming reverse discrimination.