Wednesday, May 12, 2021
How to Reduce Discrimination in Veterans' Preference Laws
Craig Westergard, Questioning the Sacrosanct: How to Reduce Discrimination and Inefficiency in Veterans' Preference Law, 19 Seattle Journal for Social Justice 39 (2020)
Veterans’ preference law grants military veterans decisive advantages when applying for government positions. While rewarding veterans and assisting their transition back to civilian life may be worthy goals, veterans’ preference has at least two major defects. First, veterans’ preference disparately affects women, LGBT persons, disabled persons, and others because of the military’s traditional exclusion of these groups. Second, veterans’ preference unnecessarily reduces the quality of the federal workforce because it prioritizes military service over merit and competition. Potential statutory and constitutional solutions have been precluded by the courts, and so these problems persist. This Note recommends that Congress modify veterans’ preference by imposing limitations on its duration and usage; in the alternative, it suggests other ways in which veterans’ preference law might be improved.