The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a ruling that struck down an affirmative action program that sought to promote more women and minorities at the Dallas Fire Department. Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg both dissented in the decision.
Under the former city program, sex and race were considered in the granting of promotions, in addition to test scores. A U.S. Appeals court ruled that evidence of past discrimination at the fire department was not sufficient to warrant an affirmative action program for women and minorities.
In 1972, the Dallas Fire Department had only one black firefighter. More than 15 years later, in 1988, black and Hispanic firefighters made up less than 6% of all employees, and the department’s top ranks still did not include a single woman.