The Griggs Decision and Affirmative Action

(Nicholas J. Kaster) Griggs v. Duke Power Co. does not have the name recognition of Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board of Education, but it is nonetheless one of the most consequential decisions ever rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the case, which was handed down on March 8, 1971, it is worth reflecting on its impact — first, in moving American racial policy from civil rights to affirmative action and second, in its unintended effect of increasing the demand for college degrees and thus raising the cost of and dependence on university education.

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