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U.S. Supreme Court

Minnick v. California Dept. of Corrections, 452 U.S. 105 (1981)

Minnick v. California Department of Corrections

No. 79-1213

Argued December 2, 1980

Decided June 1, 1981

452 U.S. 105


Petitioners, two white male correctional officers employed by the California Department of Corrections and an organization representing correctional officers and some other Department employees, filed suit in California state court against respondents, the Department and various state officers, alleging that the Department's affirmative action plan unlawfully discriminated against white males and that the individual petitioners had been denied promotions because of race. On the basis of the California Supreme Court's decision in Bakke v. University of California Regents, 18 Cal.3d 34, 553 P.2d 1152, the trial court enjoined respondents from giving any preference on the basis of race or sex in hiring or promoting any employee, but allowed the use of race or sex as a factor in making job assignments. On respondents' appeal, the California Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the trial court's rationale was no longer tenable in view of this Court's intervening decision in University of California Regents v. Bakke, 438 U. S. 265. However, the Court of Appeal did not unequivocally direct that judgment be entered for respondents, but left certain questions open for "examination if the case is to be retried."

Held: This Court's writ of certiorari, granted to review the merits of the Court of Appeal's decision, is dismissed. Because of significant developments in the law and because of significant ambiguities in the record concerning both the extent to which race or sex has been used as a factor in making promotions and the justification for such use, the constitutional issues should not be addressed until the trial court's proceedings are finally concluded and the state appellate courts have completed their review of the trial court record. Pp. 452 U. S. 120-127.

Certiorari dismissed. Reported below: 95 Cal.App.3d 506, 157 Cal.Rptr. 260.

STEVENS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and WHITE, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. REHNQUIST, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 452 U. S. 127. BRENNAN, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 452 U. S. 127. STEWART, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 452 U. S. 128.

Page 452 U. S. 106

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