Big Business Argues In Favor of Racial Preferences

They're in a position to benefit


Some of the biggest corporations in America say that having a diverse payroll helps boost sales, and they want the Supreme Court to keep that in mind as it considers this term's affirmative-action case. The justices heard oral arguments on Oct. 10 that addressed whether the University of Texas may favor racial minorities in admissions. Aetna (AET), Dow Chemical (DOW), General Electric (GE), Halliburton (HAL), Merck (MRK), Microsoft (MSFT), Northrop Grumman (NOC), Procter & Gamble (PG), Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), Xerox (XRX), and 47 other companies filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the case has bottom-line business implications as well.

"The only means of obtaining a properly qualified group of employees," the businesses said in the brief, written by the law firm Jenner & Block, "is through diversity in institutions of higher education, which are allowed to recruit and instruct the best qualified minority candidates and create an environment in which all students can meaningfully expand their horizons."