United States v. Paradise

Facts of the Case

In 1972, upon finding that, for almost four decades, the Alabama Department of Public Safety (Department) had systematically excluded blacks from employment as state troopers in violation of the


Did the one-black-for-one-white promotion scheme violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?


In a plurality opinion, the Court upheld the promotion plan. The scheme did not impose an absolute bar to white advancement, was narrowly drawn to include only specific ranks in the department, and, according to the four justices who voted to affirm it, was required in light of the Department’s long and shameful record of delay and resistance in complying with past judicial decisions. It is important to remember that courts had first found the Department’s practices unconstitutional in 1972.

Case Information

  • Citation: 480 US 149 (1987)
  • Argued: Nov 12, 1986
  • Decided Feb 25, 1987