Even after the unfairness of discriminating against persons because of their sex or the ethnic background was legally recognized, testing became an instrument for barring women and minority groups from full participation in society. When President Lyndon Johnson decreed that discrimination in employment was illegal (United States Code Congressional..., 1965, pp. 4416-4422), all forms of discrimination did not automatically end. Employers and educational institutions adopted, or continued to use formal and informal tests that selected against women and members of minority groups.
form of "reverse discrimination." American Jewish groups, moreover, have a history of opposing quota systems, because such systems were used to keep them out of institutions. The purpose of affirmative action measures is not to keep certain groups out, however, but to let other groups in to areas of the economy and the society (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1981, pp. 38-39). Criticisms based on the idea that affirmative action programs imply "preferential treatment" for some groups fails to attend to "their purpose as a means to dismantle a process that presently allocates opportunities discriminatorily" (p. 38).
Recent court decisions about affirmative action programs are likely to have long-term effects on affirmative action policy. In the last decade or so, the United States Supreme Court has handed down at least twelve important decisions in affirmative action cases. In spite of public opinion, which generally opposes what is perceived as "preferential treatment" for women and minority group members, the courts have tended to institutionalize the concept of affirmative action. Although the decisions have the effect of supporting affirmative action, they have narrowed its scope in some respects. The legal structure they have created is complex. In part because of this complexity, the issues surrounding affirmative action are by no means settled (Brooks, 1989, pp. 235-242)