July 19, 1995
TO THE PRESIDENT:
We are pleased to submit this report on the Review of Federal Affirmative Action Programs. When you requested this analysis four months ago, you stated your belief that a candid and balanced description of these programs, including a discussion of what is known about their strengths and weaknesses, would provide a valuable starting point for a national conversation on the challenges of creating truly equal opportunity. In that spirit, dozens of Administration officials have studied the details of various programs together with analyses from many sources. This Report summarizes that evidence and, where appropriate, offers preliminary conclusions of fact based on that evidence. In addition, we have taken the policy principles you provided at the beginning of our effort and applied those in a preliminary fashion to the key programs. The result is a set of policy recommendations for your consideration.
Several of our conclusions and recommendations, however, must be considered tentative and provisional because the intervening Supreme Court decision in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña now requires that many such judgments be based on the much more detailed empirical analysis entailed by the constitutional standard of "strict scrutiny." Nevertheless, we believe our preliminary views are responsive to your request, and will be a useful starting point for the Attorney General and the agencies as they work to ensure full compliance with Adarand.
We want to note the special contributions of Peter Yu, Susan Liss and Michael Waldman in preparing this Report, together with the diligent and thoughtful participation of the subcabinet and senior officials who worked with us in conducting the review itself. We and the Steering Committee were supported by an outstanding team of policy analysts and attorneys drawn from several agencies, who conducted the basic research.
Finally, we want to express our appreciation to you for this opportunity and challenge. We hope this Report will serve well in the ongoing debate over affirmative action.