This site is no longer being
maintained at this location.

This section of the site Basic Needs has been moved to



Institutional Racism                                         X
01 Race and Racial Groups                                x
02 Citizenship Rights                                    x
03 Justice                                            x
04 Basic Needs                                             x
05 Intersectionality                                           x
06 Worldwide                                           x
  Web Editor:
  Vernellia R. Randall
Professor of Law
The University of Dayton
Web Editor
Race and Health Care
Personal Website                                          x
Legal Education
The JD Project

Affirmative Action Based On Economic Disadvantage

Richard H. Fallon, Jr., Affirmative Action Based On Economic Disadvantage, 43 UCLA L. Rev. 1913- 1951, 1913-1916 (August 1996). Copyright (C) 1996 Regents of the University of California; Richard H. Fallon, Jr.

In the ongoing debate about affirmative action, there appears to be mounting interest in whether it would be desirable to develop programs affording preferences based not on race or other "suspect" or "semi-suspect" criteria, but on economic disadvantage. Articles touting economically based affirmative action have appeared in the popular press. . . 

To generalize somewhat extravagantly, proponents of economically based affirmative action divide into two main categories. One views economically based affirmative action as a partial, second-best surrogate for race-based affirmative action in a legal and political climate in which race-based affirmative action may no longer be feasible, at least in some instances. The Supreme Court has established that all forms of race-based affirmative action will be subject to searching judicial scrutiny. . . Because racial minorities, especially blacks and Hispanics, tend to be disproportionately poor, economically based affirmative action becomes attractive to some on the ground that it would likely confer disproportionate benefits on minority groups. 

The other category of supporters. . .regards economically based affirmative action as attractive for reasons independent of the arguments supporting race- based affirmative action. According to this view, economically based affirmative action--in contrast, some believe, with race-based affirmative action--responds directly to "burdens that have been unfairly placed in . . . individual's paths." Justice, it is held, calls for benefits and opportunities to be distributed to those who perform best in fair competition, and it enhances fairness to compensate for handicaps associated with poverty. Despite growing signs of support for economically based affirmative action, some of the most basic issues--especially those surrounding proposals that attempt to justify economically based affirmative action on grounds independent of race-based considerations--have so far received surprisingly scant attention. 

These issues include: (i) the nature of the disadvantages that poverty creates and that affirmative action is intended to offset; (ii) the precise justification, if any, for viewing particular affirmative action preferences as appropriate remedies for poverty-based disadvantages; and (iii) the relationship between affirmative action preferences for the poor and the "merit" principles that normal schemes for distributing benefits and opportunities are usually thought to embody. . . . My most general conclusion is that arguments of both justice and utility support quite narrow programs of affirmative action for the economically disadvantaged. Broader programs of poverty-based affirmative action would not be unjust, but are not well supported on policy grounds either. Finally, the kinds of economically based affirmative action that can be justified independently from race-based affirmative action would be a poor surrogate for race-conscious programs, if indeed they are, or ought to be, a surrogate at all.

Submit for Periodic Updates
Update List
Affirmative Action                                            x
Education                                           x
Economic Issues                                           x
Employment                                            x
Environmental Racism                                           x
Family and Adoption                                           x
Health Care                                            x
Media                                            x
Poverty and Welfare                                           x
Property and Housing                                           x
Protest and Protection                                            x
Public Facilities                                           x
Sex and Marriage                                           x
Voting Rights                                            x
Miscellaneous                                           x
What's New!                                           x
Obama's Administration                             x
Webinars                                                x
The Whitest Law Schools                                           x
Law Reviews                                           x
Newsletter                                           x
Racial Surveys                                           x
Awards                                           x
Syllabus                                           x
Search this Site                                           x
Contact                                           x


Same level:
Parents Involved in Community Schools V. Seattle School District No. 1 and Race-conscious Student Assignment Policies ] Recasting MLK as an Affirmative Action Opponent ] Higher Education Admissions  Compliance Manual ] FOR WHITES ONLY - A Long History of Affirmative Action ] Mandatory Affirmative Action ] How Affirmative Action Helped George W. ] Bakke and the Causation Fallacy ] Is Affirmative Action Still Needed? ] Is Affirmative Action Still Needed? ] Color Blinded by Whiteness ] The Need for Affirmative Action- Strong as Ever! ] I am an Affirmative Action Baby! ] Merit and Affirmative Action ] My Word's Worth - Affirmative Action ] Innocent Whites and Colorblindness ] Adding Salt To The Wound ] Grutter v. Bollinger ] Asian Americans and Affirmative Actions ] The Evolution Of Race In The Law ] Affirmative Action and the Law ] The Pre-Affirmative Action Era ] Diminished Self Worth ] Anglo-Irish American Observation on Affirmative Action ] Sameness does not Mean Fairness ] Meritocracy and Diversity ] [ Affirmative Action Based On Economic Disadvantage ] Affirmative Action Backlash or Debunking the Myths ] Chicana/o Desegregation Cases ] Asian Americans and 1996 California Civil Rights Initiative ] Whites Swim in Racial Preference ] White Women and Affirmative Action ]
Child Level:
Home ] Up ]
Parent Level:
Affirmative Action and Race ] Education and Race ] Employment Issues ] Environmental Racism ] Family Adoption and Race ] Race HealthCare and the Law ] Media and Race ] Economics and Race ] Poverty Welfare and Race ] Property -Housing and Race ] Protest Protection and Race ] Public Facilities and Race ] Sex Marriage and Race ] Voting Rights and Race ] Miscellaneous Pages ]
[Race and Racial Groups] [Citizenship Rights]  [Justice and Race] [Patterns of Basic Needs] [Intersectionality Issues] [Human Rights]


Always Under Construction!

Always Under Construction!

Copyright @ 1997, 2008.
Vernellia R. Randall

All Rights Reserved.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, some material on this website is provided for comment, background information, research and/or educational purposes only, without permission from the copyright owner(s), under the "fair use" provisions of the federal copyright laws. These materials may not be distributed for other purposes without permission of the copyright owner(s).

Last Updated:
Wednesday, April 25, 2012  

You are visitor number
Hit Counter    
Since Sept. 11, 2001

Thanks to Derrick Bell and his pioneer work: 
Race, Racism and American Law