Document Type


Publication Date





Northwestern University School of Law




When the Clinton Administration announced its intention to challenge Proposition 209, the new prohibition on affirmative action in California, the Justice Department declined to say whether the United States would formally intervene in the lawsuit already under way or merely file an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs. Casual observers may have assumed that the Administration considered the form of its participation to raise further political and strategic considerations. That was undoubtedly true. It was also true, however, that Justice Department lawyers faced a legal question as well. According to the precedents on point, the United States required an authorizing statute in order to become a formal party. It was necessary, then, to identify such a statute before turning to the pragmatic question whether to intervene.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.