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Fullilove v. Klutznick

The Facts Of The Case, The Supreme Court Decides, The Dissenting Opinion, Public Works Employment Act


H. Earl Fullilove, et al.


Philip M. Klutznick, U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Petitioners' Claim

That a provision in the law requiring that ten percent of all federal funds for local public works projects go to minority-owned businesses violates the U.S. Constitution.

Chief Lawyers for Petitioners

Robert G. Benisch, Robert J. Hickey

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Drew S. Days III

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger (writing for the Court), Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Potter Stewart


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

2 July 1980


Affirmed lower court rulings rejecting the petitioners' claim that minority "set-asides" were unconstitutional.


The decision in Fullilove v. Klutznick clarified the U.S. Supreme Court's position on the constitutionality of minority set-aside programs. This directly impacted Congress' ability to craft future laws designed to address discrimination in a variety of industries.


In the wake of the Fullilove v. Klutznick decision, Congress enacted a number of new minority set-aside programs. State and local governments followed suit, although a number of those laws were later struck down in court.

Related Cases

  • South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U.S. 203 (1987).
  • Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469 (1989).
  • Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 512 U.S. 200 (1995).


Constitutional Law, 13th ed. New York: The Foundation Press Inc., 1997.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980