Oppose Representative King’s Amendment to H.R. 609

Media 03.30,06

Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, we write today to express our opposition to Representative King’s amendment to H.R. 609 and urge you to vote against the amendment. Representative King’s amendment rejects equal opportunity in college admissions and would violate the privacy rights of students and deny universities their right to academic freedom.

Since 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court has been instrumental in determining the scope and meaning of affirmative action policies in institutions of higher education, federal agencies, and government contracting. The Court’s decisions–most recently through its decisions in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases, Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, have defined affirmative action and influenced how policies are drafted and implemented so that they are fair and equitable.

On June 23, 2003, the Supreme Court validated affirmative action policies and initiatives in its decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, clearly stating that diversity is a compelling state interest and that race was one of the permissible factors to be considered in higher education admissions. In Gratz v. Bollinger, the Court upheld the value of student body diversity. Reinforcing the goals of affirmative action, the Supreme Court stated, “Effective participation by members of all racial and ethnic groups in the civic life of our Nation is essential if the dream of one Nation, indivisible, is to be realized.”

The King amendment eliminates equal opportunity in admissions which the Supreme Court clearly concluded was essential in order to promote diversity on college campuses. The burdensome reporting requirements imposed under the amendment would create a bureaucratic disincentive for universities to consider race and ethnicity in their admissions process.

We urge you to support equal opportunity and reject Representative King’s amendment to H.R. 609. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Zirkin, LCCR Deputy Director, at 202/263-2880, or Valerie Frias, LCCR Counsel, at 202/263-2852.


Wade Henderson
Executive Director
Nancy Zirkin
Deputy Director