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Adarand Constructors v. Pena (93-1841), 515 U.S. 200 (1995).
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No. 93-1841


ADARAND CONSTRUCTORS, INC., PETITIONER v. FEDERICO PENA, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION, et al.

on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the tenth circuit

[June 12, 1995]

Justice Scalia, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

I join the opinion of the Court, except Part III C, and except insofar as it may be inconsistent with the following: In my view, government can never have a "compelling interest" in discriminating on the basis of race in order to "make up" for past racial discrimination in the opposite direction. See Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469, 520 (1989) (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment). Individuals who have been wronged by unlawful racial discrimination should be made whole; but under our Constitution there can be no such thing as either a creditor or a debtor race. That concept is alien to the Constitution's focus upon the individual, see Amdt. 14, §1 ("[N]or shall any State . . . deny to any person" the equal protection of the laws) (emphasis added), and its rejection of dispositions based on race, see Amdt. 15, §1 (prohibiting abridgment of the right to vote "on account of race") or based on blood, see Art. III, §3 ("[N]o Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood"); Art. I, §9 ("No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States"). To pursue the concept of racial entitlement--even for the most admirable and benign of purposes--is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American.

It is unlikely, if not impossible, that the challenged program would survive under this understanding of strict scrutiny, but I am content to leave that to be decided on remand.