Big business sides with Obama on affirmative action case before high court – The Hill – covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns and Capitol Hill | TheHill.com
More than 50 large corporations, which spend most of their political donations on Republican candidates, have sided with President Obama on an affirmative action case pending before the Supreme Court.
The firms have filed a brief to the high court urging the justices to accept an admissions policy that looks at various socioeconomic factors, including race. On Oct. 10, Obama’s solicitor general argued for the University of Texas’ race-based admissions policy.
The companies, which include American Express, Pfizer, Wal-Mart, Halliburton, Intel, Kraft Foods and General Electric, say they “seek to hire the most qualified group of employees, while taking into account all of the characteristics of those employees that will enrich [their] workplaces and strengthen their businesses.”
According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, most of the corporations donated no less than 50 percent of their political action committee funds to Republican candidates during the 2012 election cycle.
Aaron Taylor, an assistant law professor at Saint Louis University, said that a company’s bottom line drives the support for affirmative action.
“Businesses may support GOP policies of lower taxes, and less regulation,” he said. “[But] they’re preserving what have been a highly subsidized training ground. [It] helps their bottom line in so many ways.”
In the brief, the companies write, “The rich variety of ideas, perspectives, and experiences to which both minority and non-minority students are exposed in a diverse university setting… are essential to the students’ ability to function in and contribute to the increasingly diverse community in the United States.”
Harry Holzer, a former Department of Labor economist and professor at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute, said companies have supported affirmative action policies for the last 30 years.
“It’s pure positive from their point of view,” he said.
He added, “It makes their jobs a whole lot easier if universities are engaging in [affirmative] action. Companies like to hire workers that match their customer base. It also helps them recruit [potential employees] from those communities.”