High Court Anxiety

The Supreme Court's most conservative members don't always side with business. That's why execs are fretting about new appointments

Business cheered when the U.S. Supreme Court blessed affirmative action in the landmark Grutter v. Bollinger decision on June 23. Citing legal briefs signed by more than 30 companies, including General Motors (GM ), Microsoft (MSFT ), KPMG International, Bank One (ONE ), Eli Lilly (LLY ), and Procter & Gamble (PG ), Justice Sandra Day O'Connor based her ruling, in part, on the value of ethnic diversity in the workplace. "American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in today's increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints," she wrote on behalf of a narrow 5-4 majority.

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