(2) Taxman v. Piscataway Details

Web Posted Dec. 14, 2005
Taxman could have been the most significant civil rights case of the late 20th century.

1995 QUOTABLE:   "In Piscataway, the [Clinton] Justice Department has taken the position that, when an employer is laying off employees, a worker can be fired from her job because of her race.

          "That's right:   Our Nation's top law enforcement agency says that it is perfectly legal, as a way to preserve workforce diversity, to tell a person that she can no longer keep her job because she happens to have the wrong skin color."  -- Sen. Robert Dole, May 22, 1995 before the U.S. Senate. 

Last known link: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r104:S22MY5-510:

Senator Bob Dole
Former Sen. Robert Dole

Taxman Synopsis:

          The Sharon Taxman case laid bare the flaws, falsehoods, demogoguery, and racism inherent in racially sensitive employment policies, racial quotas and racial preferences. Site
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          Ms. Taxman was hired by the Piscataway schools in 1980 on the same day as another teacher, Ms. Debra Williams, who is black. 

          In 1989 Taxman was fired by the same the school board because she was white.  Faced with budget cutbacks, the Piscataway, NJ school board had to let go of one teacher with the least seniority.   Sharon Taxman, white, and Debra Williams, black, were essentially tied for "least seniority".  Both had exemplary employment records and both were equally qualified.

          What to do?  The Piscataway school board decided that it was perfectly logical to fire Taxman because she was white, and because the board wanted to preserve diversity.  The board truly believed this was a defensible, even sacrosanct, rationale with which no one could possibly disagree.  The Piscataway board of education almost truculently boasted about their racial sensitivity when speaking about their race-based firing of Taxman.

          (At one point during the many years of litigation, the first President Clinton publicly stated that firing Taxman was the right thing to do in order to preserve diversity.  In the face of legislative outrage and negative public opinion polls, Clinton later quietly backed off that position and pretended he never said it.)

          Anyway, Ms. Taxman justifiably sued the Piscataway school board for violating her rights under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and she won a series of stunningly unambiguous court decisions, first at the district court level and later, after the obtuse Piscataway board appealed that decision, at the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (on which Judge Samuel Alito sat). 

          But the stubborn, racialist Piscataway school board kept appealing to the next higher court.  The board appeared to be hell bent on preserving racialism, and on preserving their ability to fire white teachers to preserve diversity, apparently at any cost.

          The first President Bush (H.W.) used his Justice Department to fight for Taxman's rights and filed legal briefs in support of her position.

          Subsequently, the first President Clinton (William Jefferson) used his Justice Department to file legal briefs against Taxman's rights because, Clinton's DOJ argued, preserving diversity at any cost was a compelling and legitimate government interest.

          The last stop before Taxman's case could wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court was the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where Ms. Taxman won again in 1996.  At the time Judge Samuel Alito served on that court and he joined the overwhelming 8 - 4 majority ruling in favor of Ms. Taxman.

The 8 - 4 majority opinion in which Alito concurred stated in part: 

"It is clear that the language of Title VII is violated when an employer makes an employment decision based upon an employee's race. The Supreme Court determined in United Steelworkers v. Weber, 443 U.S. 193 (1979), however, that Title VII's prohibition against racial discrimination is not violated by affirmative action plans which first, 'have purposes that mirror those of the statute' and second, do not 'unnecessarily trammel the interests of the [non-minority] employees.' We hold that Piscataway's affirmative action policy is unlawful because it fails to satisfy either prong of Weber. Given the clear antidiscrimination mandate of Title VII, a non-remedial affirmative action plan, even one with a laudable purpose, cannot pass muster. . . ." Taxman v. Bd. of Educ. of the Township of Piscataway, 91 F.3d 1547 (3d Cir. 1996) (en banc).

Last known link:
"President Should Enforce the Civil Rights Laws as Written;
Administration Sanctions Race-Based Layoffs
(From the U.S. Senate, Republican Policy Committee, June 10, 1997)>>

          But again the racialists on the school board appealed even this huge majority appellate decision in favor of Sharon Taxman and against the Piscataway school board, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Piscataway school board continued to refuse to admit that what it did was wrong.

          And the Taxman case would have landed in the U.S. Supreme Court in late 1997 or early 1998 EXCEPT for the efforts of Jesse Jackson, the National Urban League, the NAACP, and a host of other race merchants that absolutely did NOT want the Taxman case to be heard by the nation's highest court.

          Why didn't the race merchants want this case to be heard? 

          Because the U.S. Supreme Court -- even with Sandra Day O'Connor still sitting in 1997 -- would almost certainly have struck down Piscataway's "diversity rationale" for hiring and firing.  That would have represented a stunning victory for colorblind justice, and an equally stunning defeat for the race merchants. 

          A U.S. Supreme Court victory for Taxman could have set a nation-wide, binding precedent against using race to determine who gets hired and who gets fired.

          The race merchants could not allow that to happen.

          In late 1997 Jesse, Kweisi, Julian, and the other, usual suspects quickly and quietly hustled up over $300,000 from various interested parties to make the Taxman case go away.  They used this money not to refine their legal arguments, not to lobby legislators, but rather to bribe Sharon Taxman to drop her case and not proceed to the Supreme Court.

          The race merchants called it a "settlement", but most reasonable people called it what it was:  a bribe.

          Sharon Taxman accepted the bribe, er, settlement, and agreed to drop her Supreme Court case.  Thus -- for a mere $300,000 -- one of the most important civil rights cases of the late 20th century was quashed.

          Below we have used quotations from various media sources to document the history and details of the Sharon Taxman case.   -- Editor

Adversity.Net Chronology by Tim Fay

1980 --  "It began on the first day of school in 1980 when [Sharon] Taxman [who is white] and Debra Williams, who is black, went to work as business teachers in Piscataway. Both worked hard and earned high marks for performance. They even won tenure the same day."

Last known link:

1989 -- "Piscataway, a township in New Jersey, made national headlines in 1989 when the local school board fired a teacher for being white, all in the name of diversity."

          "The school board, under financial pressure, needed to downsize, as so many governments and businesses across the nation have in recent years. The business education department was required to cut one teacher, and the choice came down to Taxman or Williams, whose qualifications amounted to a flat-footed tie.

          "What to do? By the board's own rules and past practice, ties were to be broken by a coin flip. But the board wanted to preserve racial diversity, and Williams was the department's first and only black teacher. So Taxman got the pink slip. And she sued.

          "Her case was seen as so important by the U.S. Justice Department [during the George H.W. Bush Administration] that it jumped in to help, suing the school board for violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial and other discrimination."

Last known link:
Vol. 1, No. 22: November 26, 1997

1993 --   Taxman, with the help of the United States Government (under the senior Bush’s Administration), filed suit against the school board under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer "to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment" on the basis of "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a). At the district court, Taxman and the United States Government won a major victory. The School Board was found liable for unlawful race-based discrimination and ordered to pay more than $134,000 for backpay, fringe benefits, and interest. Taxman also regained her full seniority rights. United States v. Bd. of Educ. of the Township of Piscataway, 832 F. Supp. 836 (D.N.J. 1993).

Last known link:
June 10, 1997--"President Should Enforce the Civil Rights Laws as Written"
(From the United States Senate, Republican Policy Committee, June 10, 1997)

1994 --  In 1994 President Clinton's Department of Justice, led by the now departed Deval Patrick [Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights] (whom Bill Lann Lee would have replaced), withdrew support of Taxman's case in order to reapply in support of the school board's diversity argument.  [See also:  Deval Patrick, Race Merchant Extraordinaire, below.]

Last known link:
Contrarian newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 22: November 26, 1997
"The Piscataway Payoff"

          "... there were strong disagreements in the Justice Department as to whether the [Piscataway] board actually had a credible case.  Nonetheless, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, Deval Patrick -- backed by President Clinton -- vigorously claimed that nothing in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act 'prevented the Piscataway board members from making the choice they did.'

Last known link:

          "... Deval Patrick, then the assistant attorney general for civil rights, who turned the [Taxman] litigation into a relentless crusade. For a long time he was seconded by the president and the attorney general.

          "... Patrick characterized those who do not agree with him on race-based and gender-based affirmative action as believing that 'once slavery was ended, nothing more had to be done.'

          "Also somewhat less than inspiring was Kweisi Mfume's repeated insistence during a 'Nightline' discussion that the Piscataway case 'was never about affirmative action.'  But it was indeed an advocacy of diversity as a justification for affirmative action."

Last known link:

1996 --  "Last month [Sept. 1996], the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals thumpingly disagreed -- 8 to 4 -- with [Deval] Patrick and with the president [Clinton] in Sharon Taxman v. Board of Education of the township of Piscataway.

          "[3rd Circuit Appellate] Judge Carol L. Mansmann, speaking for the majority of the court, made clear that the desire for diversity, although admirable, could not all by itself justify the firing of a teacher because she is of the wrong race.

          "The decision is based on statutory, not constitutional, grounds. But because it further clarifies the boundaries of Title VII's antidiscrimination provisions in this area, the decision -- if affirmed by the Supreme Court -- could affect many more people than judicial decisions concerning law school admissions.

          "Judge Mansmann pointed out that the board of education admitted it did not insist on diversity in this case "to remedy the effects of prior employment discrimination . . . or underrepresentation of blacks within the Piscataway School District's teacher work force as a whole."

          "Accordingly, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, said the court, has indeed been violated. As Marcia Coyle noted in the National Law Journal, this 3rd Circuit decision holds that "employers' affirmative action plans do not run afoul of Title VII's antidiscrimination mandate when they respond to a history of racial discrimination or a manifest racial imbalance in the work force. But lacking these two purposes, even a plan 'with a laudable purpose,' such as to promote racial diversity, will violate the statute."

          [Editor’s Note: George W. Bush’s Supreme Court Nominee, Samuel Alito, was serving on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at the time of this decision, and he joined the 8 to 4 majority in ruling against Piscataway’s use of the "diversity rationale" in firing teacher Sharon Taxman.]

Last known link:
Saturday, October 5 1996; Page A23

1996 - 1997 -- After losing for the second time [Taxman v. Bd. of Educ. of the Township of Piscataway, 91 F.3d 1547 (3d Cir. 1996) (en banc)] the School Board asked the Supreme Court to review the case, and the [Supreme] Court asked the Government whether it had a position.

          Last week [early June 1997], the Clinton Administration said that, yes, the lower courts were wrong, but that, no, the Supreme Court should not consider the case. Apparently, the White House is concerned that the Supreme Court may agree with the court of appeals and start telling employers all across the country that they must stop discriminating on the basis of race.

Last known link:
"President Should Enforce the Civil Rights Laws as Written"
(From the United States Senate, Republican Policy Committee, June 10, 1997)

1997 --  As the case moved closer to the U.S. Supreme Court, the [Clinton] Administration seemed to get cold feet, and in June of this year [1997], urged the [Supreme] Court not to hear the case at all, maintaining that the circumstances were too particular to make it a precedent-setting case. When the Supreme Court ignored their request, the Administration filed a brief in late summer [1997] which backpedaled from their initial support, arguing that perhaps the school board had made a bad decision but the Court should make allowances for employers to consider race under certain circumstances. This last brief was particularly notable for its effort to push the Court away from a "strict scrutiny" standard and move towards a more generous allowance, including the "diversity" justification.

Last known link:
Vol. 1, No. 22: November 26, 1997

1997 --  "At other times, Alito was part of a court majority that took a limited view of the law. The most important case the 3rd Circuit has considered during his tenure on affirmative action -- a question on which the Supreme Court is closely divided -- was a 1997 lawsuit involving the Piscataway, N.J., school district.

          "Facing layoffs, school administrators had decided to dismiss a white teacher rather than a black teacher to promote diversity. The appellate court ruled 8 to 4, with Alito in the majority, that the district's policy of giving preference to minority teachers in layoff decisions was unconstitutional because it had not been intended to correct any past discrimination and it violated the rights of white employees.

          "The court's dissenters wrote that "no Supreme Court case has ever" precluded "consideration of race or sex for the purpose of insuring diversity in the classroom as one of many factors in an employment decision." The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, but it was settled before the high court ruled."

Last known link:

Dec. 1997 --  "...in December 1997, [Jesse] Jackson mustered an alliance that raised $300,000 to keep an affirmative action case from getting referred to the U.S. Supreme Court, fearing that it might become a test case that would end racial preferences for minorities. 

          "The New Jersey case resulted from the 1989 firing of a white teacher, Sharon Taxman, justified by the Piscataway school board on the grounds of budget restrictions. But Taxman sued and won on appeal in the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 1996 when it was revealed that the school district had decided to retain a black colleague named Debra Williams, hired on the same day as Taxman, for reasons of racial diversity.

          "If race had not been an element, it’s not clear which teacher would have been fired since both were considered ‘equally qualified’ by the school board.

          "The school board offered a $430,500 settlement to Taxman on November 20, 1997, in exchange for abandoning her appeal.

          "Opponents of affirmative action saw Piscataway v. Taxman as a good test case for the Supreme Court, and were raising money to support further legal action. 'I don't know when we'll ever get such a clear set of facts,' said Anita K. Blair, executive vice president of the Independent Women’s Forum.

          "[Jesse] Jackson quickly jumped in, helping raise $300,000 in four days to pay off Ms. Taxman and her lawyers to make sure the case died. 'This last ditch effort by the pro-preference establishment tells us the end is near for those suppressing fair and equal treatment for all,' said affirmative action opponent Ward Connerly.  Connerly, a black university regent who successfully defeated affirmative action programs in California, would become one of Jesse’s most eloquent opponents."

Quoted from the book:
"Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson", pp. 288-289
by Kenneth R. Timmerman

A Typical Race Hustler of the Time:
Deval Patrick,
Race Merchant Extraordinaire

From Adversity.Net and Miscellaneous Sources:

          The original Chair of the Texaco [Diversity] Task Force, approved by the Court on June 24, 1997, was none other than Clinton’s former United States Attorney General for Civil Rights, Deval L. Patrick.

          In 1999 Deval Patrick was subsequently hired by Texaco as Vice President and General Counsel, the better to oversee ongoing racial-preference policies at the oil giant. Texaco achieved an affirmative action two-fer in hiring Patrick: (1) He's black and (2) He was trained by U.S. DOJ in enforcement of racially preferential hiring policies.

          As of Jan. 2001, Mr. Patrick has left Texaco to take a job as general counsel at Coca Cola following the soft-drink company's settlement of a similar class action lawsuit. Thus, Mr. Patrick has become a highly paid overseer of corporate racial preferences.

          Mr. Patrick is a close friend of the Reverend Jesse "Just Me" Jackson, and continues to participate in racial extortion and racial shakedowns of profitable U.S. businesses in his current capacities as a member of the board of directors of Reebok International, and as a trustee of the ultra-liberal Ford Foundation which dispenses grant funds to pro-racial-quota groups and organizations.

Adversity.Net miscellaneous, and

More stories and cases on Samuel A. Alito's support for equal treatment under the law without regard to race or ethnicity will be added as they become available.
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END (2)  Taxman v. Piscataway Details


Samuel A. Alito Opposes Racial Quotas
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Taxman v. Piscataway

Bray v. Marriott
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