SUSPECT CLASSIFICATIONS --
RACE AND NATIONAL ORIGEN --
REMEDYING PAST DISCRIMINATION: The gov't has a compelling interest in remedying past discrimination. Thus, if a court finds that a gov'ta agency has engaged in racial discrimination, it may employ a race-conscious remedy tailored to end the discrimination and eliminate its effects. This is permissible under EP because it is narrowly tailored to further a compelling interest. Even where there hasn't been past gov't discrimination the state may have an interest in affirmative action. Remedying past private discrimnation within the giv'tal agency's jurisdiction is a compelling interest, but there is no compelling interest in remedying the general effects of societal discrimination. To give preference to minority applicants, the gov't must identify the past unconstitutional or illegal discrimination that it is now attempting to correct.
The USSC has held that it will defer to a university's good faith judgement that diversity is a compelling interest, but the court has also held that a college/university should consider each applicant as an individual and if race/ethnicity is a defining factor, the admission policy will not be narrowly tailored to achieving the compelling interest of ensuring a diverse student body.
Private employers are not restricted by the EP clause, since it applies only to the gov't and private employers lack state action. However, congress has adopted statutes regulating private discrimination by employers pursuant to its power under the enabling provisions of the 13th and 14th amendments and the commerce clause. Thus, if an exam Q asks about private employer discrimination, the answer cannot be based on EP.