Court Rejects Lawsuit, but Warns of Implicit Bias

"The recognition of implicit bias is huge," he said. "It's disappointing that the state may escape on what is effectively a technicality. (But) our ultimate goal was to gain increased understanding within the court system for a realistic assessment of how race interferes with equality in the modern world. And we did that."

Waterman said a friend-of-the-court brief filed by NAACP raised "serious questions as to whether the state committed unlawful discrimination." The brief noted that state expert Robert Miller found an "adverse impact" against blacks who applied at eight large agencies, in a step that involves scoring resumes to select interviewees. But he said plaintiffs didn't pursue whether "inappropriate screening devices" were used.

"I do not downplay what this case has shown," he wrote. "Even according to Miller, it appears African Americans on the whole were disadvantaged in getting job interviews from some agencies, including some large departments like the Department of Human Services and the Department of Transportation. This conclusion ... is disturbing although inconclusive."

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