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The latest casualty in the fight between the city of Atlanta and the Southeastern Legal Foundation is Larry D. Thompson, a former U.S. Attorney appointed by Ronald Reagan and a King & Spaulding partner. Thompson, the only black member of the group, is the third member to quit this week. The group is suing Atlanta over its minority contracting program, which requires up to 35 percent of city contracts to go to minority or female-owned businesses. “Unfortunately, I think the matter has gone beyond the rather narrow issue of whether a particular affirmative action is constitutional,” said Thompson. “It’s become a battle over affirmative action in general.” He says he did not want his personal beliefs to be misunderstood, especially in his mostly black neighborhood, and that he supports affirmative action programs, including the one his firm uses.

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