Yes, it is morally acceptable to have preferential treatment programs for disabled veterans. Nothing contained in this title shall be interpreted to require any employer . . . to grant preferential treatment to any individual or to any group because of the race, color, religion, sex or national origin of such individual or group on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons of any race, color, religion, sex or national origin employed by an employer.
In the Weber decision, the court majority got around the precise antipreference wording of Title VII by saying that the language did not explicitly forbid such practices and that the overall spirit of the Civil Rights Act was congruent with voluntary preference programs. In a sharp dissent, Justice William Rehnquist termed such thinking "Orwellian."
Two cases taken up by the Supreme Court in the mid- 1980s involved the issue of seniority versus affirmative action during lay-offs.
The question in such cases as Memphis Firefighters v. Stotts (1984) and Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education (1986) was whether minorities recently hired under affirmative action plans should be laid off before whites with more senority. In these cases, the court held that, since no minority individuals could prove that they were individual victims of past discrimination by the municipal entities involved, then the seniority systems could take precedence over affirmative action programs. Whites with more seniority could not be laid off in favor of minorities with less seniority.
In Local 93 of the International Association of Firefighters v. City of Cleveland (1986) and Local 28 of the Sheet Metal Workers v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1986), the Court approved one agreement and one court order (respectively) to settle discrimination lawsuits that involved preferential hiring or promotion of...