Skip to comments.Awkward Questions for Justice Breyer
Posted on 02/11/2006 1:09:47 PM PST by jimbofree
Just this week, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer paid a visit to his high school alma mater, Lowell High School in San Francisco. He took a tour of the schools campus, which moved in 1962 from downtown San Francisco to its present Sunset District location, and then spent an hour taking questions from the schools junior and senior classes. According to AP, Justice Breyer (Class of 1955) was treated like a rock star during his visit to the highly-selective schools campus.
Besides the change in location, Lowell High School has in recent years undergone an immense transformation of its student body, a makeover which Justice Breyer undoubtedly noticed. When Breyer graduated more than 50 years ago, Lowell was most certainly a majority white school, if not lily-white. Today, Lowells student body is capped at 67% Asian, a figure that would be most certainly higher were it not for the defacto ceiling imposed on Asian enrollment by school authorities.
While race is allegedly not a consideration in its highly-competitive admissions process, other factors such as language spoken at home, English Learner Status and parents occupation are used to determine student admission to Lowell. These factors, along with others, are used by the San Francisco school to compute a student applicants Diversity Index for use in the admissions process.
Presumably, this means that the schools admissions committee seeks students other than ones whose parents speak Chinese at home, have engineering degrees or work at Chinese restaurantsall in the interest of maintaining student diversity, of course. To this end, San Francisco school officials known euphemistically as reverse truant officers have been known to pay a visit to a students home in order to verify information on student applicants, in some cases discreetly following them home from school.
The irony of Breyers visit seemed to have been lost on Lowell students, who threw some softball questions at the Supreme Court Justice, but focused mostly on issues pulled from the front pages of the New York Times and hometown San Francisco Chronicle. Students asked questions on the constitutionality of religious displays on public property, the treatment of terrorist suspects and of course, gay rights.
Breyer apparently fielded no questions from Lowell students on the legality of their schools Asian quotas in light of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Many Lowell seniors present at Breyers question-and-answer session will soon learn if they have been accepted by many of the most prestigious colleges in the United States. Undoubtedly, some will get their letters from admission from Harvard (where Breyers daughter Chloe graduated), Yale (where Breyers daughter Nell graduated) and Stanford (where Breyer himself and his son Michael graduated), while much larger numbers will be hearing good news from the University of California system and other fine schools. But more than a handful of studentsperhaps as many as a few hundredwho will be attending a less prestigious school than they had anticipated should have considered asking Justice Breyer a question or two beyond the standard liberal talking points.
Recently, Breyer was one of five Supreme Court justices who recently voted to uphold Affirmative Action policies at the University of Michigan (Grutter v. Bollinger) and, by default, other upper tier colleges. As most observers would agree, Asian applicants to Americas most prestigious colleges are both negatively and disproportionately affected by Affirmative Action, which serves primarily as a method for schools to limit their numbers on campus, much like Lowells own Diversity Index.
In the course of Breyers visit to Lowell, here are some relevant questions I would have asked the Supreme Court Justice:
1) Would you have sent your children to Lowell High School, given its current demographics?
2) In the interests of diversity, should Lowell High School, circa 1955, have imposed a 67% cap on white students?
3) Your son Michaelwho attended the prestigious Milton Academywas admitted to Stanford University off the waiting list, which former Stanford admissions dean Jean Fetter described as an appropriate place to acknowledge any legacy preference. Are legacy preferences at Stanford the equivalent of Affirmative Action for whites?
4) For Affirmative Action purposes, how should someone who is half-Asian and half-black be classified? What about someone who is half-Asian and half-white?
Somehow, Im fairly certain that Justice Breyer would have found some way to avoid answering these questions, side-stepping them as he did earlier questions on religious clubs at public schools. Otherwise, he might have found himself surrounded by an angry mob, rather than an adoring crowd.
If Ive learned anything from observing the actions of people such as Justice Breyer, it is that liberals will always find someone else to make sacrifices for the sake of diversity. They love affirmative action as long as their kids can attend elite prep schools and get accepted into Ivy League schools.
Parents who have no choice but to send their kids to lousy public schools, or get shut out of the best high schools or colleges because of their race, should take comfort in the fact that Justice Breyers new colleagues on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, are products of mainstream America and not the liberal bubbles of San Francisco and Cambridge that Breyer inhabited for nearly his entire lifetime prior to moving to Washington, DC.
With the retirement of Justice OConnor, who provided the crucial swing or crossover vote to uphold Affirmative Action in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), the Supreme Court will likely revisit and perhaps overturn the use of racial preferences sometime soon. Perhaps that explains why Justice Breyer chose to visit his alma mater this week for the first time in over 40 years. It might not be as easy to avoid awkward questions in the near future.
James Chen blogs at Where Have Gone, Joe DiMaggio?
Breyer is an idiot who can't even understand our own constitution, let alone trolling other country's to fit his agenda. Shame on him and Ginzberg both.
Both Clinton appointees look to foreign constitutions and precedents to justify their taking away our rights.
I can only shake in horror thinking what if Gore had carried Florida in '00 and gone on to a second term? Imagine the two appointees he would have made?
Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens, and the two new justices would have rewritten the US constitution.
They would have been their own constitutional convention.
Bump - true, true, true. Liberals want YOU to be the instrument of "equality" if YOU or YOUR family members are the ones who are to be discriminated against.
And all the while there are 50 states right here under their noses. Both are execrable elitists, unfit to judge others.
Good points. A also note that when these Justices quote foreign "precedents" they only quote those from English speaking sources, even - Heaven help us - Zimbabwe. I guess there are no suitable precedents in Danish or Polish. Incidentally, Poland's Supreme Court has ruled that life begins at conception - an uncongenial notion to Breyer, Ginsburg, Stevens, and Souter.
Let the Libs/Socialist have their schools. Conservatives/Christians must establish new schools. Remember, Conservatives/Christians established most of the Ivy League schools. Then do not let them be turned into Anti-Christian Devil worshiping institutions.
Yeah, boy, whoooo! I am in WPB, FL and watched the Dem shenanigans up close on local TV too. Our county is so crooked with Dem aholes running the show like the guy who got El Rushbo's dr records illegally for his own political gain, and those Dems insisting we recount.
I never had the first bit of confusion with the socalled confusing butterfly ballots. I just feel in my bones some crooked libs were dicking with the ballots punching extra holes after the fact. We all know that both parties have been involved with voting fraud from our beginnings, but if the 40 yrs of complete Dem rule between 1932-80 isn't proof they primarily have brought it to a high art, I don't know what is. I watch like a hawk whenever I'm at the polls and only wish I could have spent the whole day.
The DNC was already alerting it's lemmings to cry discrimination before the polls even opened. And during the early voting were harrassing Reps standing in line.
Heavan only knows just exactly what depths we would have sunk to had Gore held the reins thru 9/11 and since.
I am afraid way too many of America's religious have already shown themselves to be accepting of big Govt.
Religion isn't the answer - a historical and economic education outside the academy is.
PS: I wonder if Souter visited his old favorite bath houses while in SF?
This issue was one of the big ones that Alito will decide that did not come up much at the confirmation hearings which were dominated by abortion (which there are still 5 votes to uphold :/ ) and presidential power.
I'm glad that we'll finally be living in a country where it's not legal to discriminate on the basis of race in hiring and admissions.