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Racial Discrimination in Employment
"Without words said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd. Oceania was at war with Eastasia!"
George Orwell
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United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO-CLC

v.

Weber
Racial Discrimination in Employment

Justice Rehnquist Dissent
June 27, 1979
Seal Of The Supreme Court
Excerpt:

In a very real sense, the Court's opinion is ahead of its time: it could more appropriately have been handed down five years from now, in 1984, a year coinciding with the title of a book from which the Court's opinion borrows, perhaps subconsciously, at least one idea. Orwell describes in his book a governmental official of Oceania, one of the three great world powers, denouncing the current enemy, Eurasia, to an assembled crowd:

"It was almost impossible to listen to him without being first convinced and then maddened ... The speech had been proceeding for perhaps twenty minutes when a messenger hurried onto the platform and a scrap of paper was slipped into the speaker's hand. He unrolled and read it without pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice or manner, or in the content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different. Without words said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd. Oceania was at war with Eastasia! ... The banners and posters with which the square was decorated were all wrong! ...

[T]he speaker had switched from one line to the other actually in mid-sentence, not only without a pause, but without even breaking the syntax. George Orwell, 1984 (1949)


Today's decision represents an equally dramatic and equally unremarked switch in this Court's interpretation of Title VII.

The operative sections of Title VII prohibit racial discrimination in employment simpliciter. Taken in its normal meaning, and as understood by all Members of Congress who spoke to the issue during the legislative debates, this language prohibits a covered employer from considering race when making an employment decision, whether the race be black or white.


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