The Supreme Court yesterday gave the Justice Department another chance to show that personnel discrimination by the Virginia State Police against blacks and women requires the imposition of a quota system.
The justices rejected, without comment, an attempt by Virginia to prevent the government from making its case for the second time before U.S. District Judge Dortch Warriner. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals had returned the controversy to the Richmond judge in April after finding fault with his earlier rulings.
Warriner had restricted the government's presentation of evidence and cleared the police of major discrimination charges against blacks, finding only what the state described as "technical" violations of antibias provisions of federal law.
The Justice Department brought suit in 1976 against the state police, alleging that its recruiting and personnel practices illegally and systematically discriminated against blacks and women. The suit charged that the state had about 11 fully trained black troopers at the time, less than one percent of the force, and that only one woman officer had been hired.
Warriner dismissed charges under the Civil Rights Act and found that the only discrimination against blacks was against applicants for civilian jobs in the state police. He also ruled that women applicants for trooper jobs had been discriminated against because of height and weight requirements, which since have been eliminated.
The Appeals court, however, found that Warriner had not adequately examined statistical information relating to the racial discrimination allegations or properly reviewed the validity of written examinations for police applicants. It instructed the judge to hear more evidence from the government before ruling and imposing a remedy.
The government had sought numerical goals and timetables for the hiring of women and blacks.
Yesterday's action in no way resolves the charges. It means only that additional information now can be presented in the Richmond court.