Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Worship diversity or else
Denver Post ^ | June 25, 2003 | Al Knight

Posted on 06/25/2003 12:27:35 AM PDT by sarcasm

Monday's two Supreme Court decisions on the use of race-based preferences at the University of Michigan were a near-perfect example of what you get when judges act like legislators.

Legislators are supposed to look at a specific problem, listen to all affected groups, examine all the proposed remedies and fashion one that will attract the necessary votes.

Judges, in contrast, are supposed to consider the facts, examine the Constitution, the law and prior cases and issue principled decisions.

The Supreme Court hasn't done that. Instead, court majorities were fashioned to strike down the obvious numerical quota at the undergraduate level while upholding a less obvious preference policy at the law school.

The law school decision is the critical ruling because it so clearly turns its back on the plain language of the Constitution and ignores court precedent.

For good or ill, the Supreme Court has now enshrined the term "diversity" and declared that it (however defined) produces educational benefits that justify the consideration of race in college admission policies.

The court's decision, however, is quite fuzzy on the issue of what benefits diversity produces. It refers to society, the general citizenry, the college, the student body, etc., but it is quite vague as to exactly what the benefits are. The court majority merely says that the pursuit of those benefits amounts to a compelling state interest and that such pursuit does not violate the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

The court openly acknowledges that public colleges and universities can now continue or adopt a variety of admission policies that are intended to produce diversity. The court majority "expects" that the use of some race-based admissions policies will be necessary for 25 years. After that time, presumably, the enrollment gaps between racial minorities and whites will have been eliminated. How it knows this is not explained.

So here we have a court that invites the nation to join it in the hope that a little racial discrimination over a quarter of a century or so will lead to a society in which discrimination is no longer necessary. That is a long way from the court's assigned mission of interpreting the Constitution, a document that quite clearly prohibits discrimination based on race.

Thank goodness that four justices filed stinging dissents, each of which demonstrates the magnitude of the court's error.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas filed especially strong opinions. Rehnquist took issue with the majority's willingness to defer to the university, pointing out that the law school's admissions policy was not narrowly tailored to address past state discrimination. He included in his dissent a chart that showed the law school has consistently admitted about the same percentage of black, Hispanic and Native American applicants. The admissions policy at bottom, Rehnquist said, is nothing more than the kind of racial balancing that the court majority itself proclaims is unconstitutional.

Thomas, as is his custom, went directly to the heart of the matter. The court majority, he said, failed to show that the supposed benefits of diversity constitute a compelling state interest. There isn't even a compelling interest in whether Michigan has a law school, he said, noting several states don't have a single accredited law school.

What the Michigan case was about, he said, was whether an elite law school can use racial preferences to enroll an agreeable racial mix of students while still maintaining its elite status.

As to any educational benefits, he said, they certainly are not bestowed on the minority students.

"The court," Thomas said, "spends considerable time discussing the impressive display of amicus support for the Law School in this case from all corners of society ... but nowhere in any of the filings in this Court is any evidence that the purported 'beneficiaries' of this racial discrimination prove themselves by performing at (or even near) the same level as those students who receive no preferences."

Finally, Thomas said, "I believe what lies beneath the Court's decision today are the benighted notions that one can tell when racial discrimination benefits (rather than hurts) minority groups ... and that racial discrimination is necessary to remedy general societal ills."

If he is right (and he surely is), must the nation wait 25 years to correct it?

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: affirmativeaction; diversity; ruling

1 posted on 06/25/2003 12:27:35 AM PDT by sarcasm
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: sarcasm; JohnHuang2; MadIvan; TonyInOhio; MeeknMing; itreei; jd792; Molly Pitcher; muggs; ...
"The Animosity caused by these Unamerican decisions can only cause the root of Racial Discord to grow roots in a Revolutionary Direction"--{Atomic_Punk 6/25/2003}
2 posted on 06/25/2003 1:44:58 AM PDT by ATOMIC_PUNK ("Did you have a good world when you died? Enough to base a movie on?.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sarcasm
Did anyone ask these idiots how does sitting next to an hispanic or a black or an asian or an india or a handicapped person, et al. enhance the education process?

God, I am sick of this stuff. Reading the recent articles this morning makes me think I will not log on to FR for the rest of the day because I am getting too angry.

3 posted on 06/25/2003 3:39:28 AM PDT by raybbr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sarcasm
I am a Supreme.

I have aspired to this exaulted position all of my adult life and then spent every year since attainting it desporting myself in my private life after a fashion to avoid public oblique. Professionally, I have voted my conscience.

I have wanted to honor my grandparents who could never believe that their seed would sit on the highest bench in the world. I have sought to justify my parents' faith and sacrifice which helped put me here. I certainly do not want to embarras my children. I do not want my grandchildren to be handicapped in their careers because I have taken the wrong line on a case before me.

I am not unaware of history; I know how the world has treated Justice Taney who wrote the Dred Scott decision and Justice Brown who wrote the decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. I do not want my seed to be ashamed to use my name because I am on the wrong side of history even though I am on the right side of the constitution.

I have my reputation to protect. I have my children and grand children to protect. I have my place in history to protect. I am not going to forfeit all this just because I must vote contrary to the constitution.
4 posted on 06/25/2003 4:47:09 AM PDT by nathanbedford
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: raybbr
Studies have shown that diversity is beneficial to the learning experience, but studies have also shown the reverse. I did a quick googling to see what I could find.

Interesting stuff. I can see both sides of the debate on the benefits. On one hand, exposure to different cultures and ideas can have a definite impact on open-mindedness, which definitely aids in the process of learning and expanding knowledge. On the other hand, diversity and affirmative action especially can lead to inter-group hostility.

I hate the way both sides on this debate just assume their side is right. This is a really tough subject. The mere fact that race issues are so confusing makes me think perhaps our society isn't colorblind yet.
5 posted on 06/25/2003 11:52:34 AM PDT by Buckeye Bomber (It pains me greatly to link to a U of M site. Go Bucks!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye Bomber
No evidence whatsoever in either report that diversity makes a math or a physics or an economics student learn his respective subject any better than without diversity. Both reports focus on the "experience".

In all honesty, asking someone if they have a better "experience" in class that is diverse, is kind of like asking them if they are racist. Of course, they are going to say they, "No, I'm not racist".

Can you honestly say that they would respond: "I hated my class because there was Jew/Black/Asian/Pole in my class". No way.

I have never seen any report or study that proves that forced diversity causes students to learn better. Possibly in a social studies class but other than that, I doubt if it can be proven.

6 posted on 06/25/2003 1:07:33 PM PDT by raybbr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: raybbr
Here's really what I mean. Good research requires an inquisitive mind. I think by being exposed to differing cultures and ideas, the possibility of inquisitiveness increases. I think believing that blacks are inferior to whites is not too far from believing the Earth is flat. It wouldn't be too hard to measure intellectual curiosity as it relates to diverse experiences, so I think research should focus on that.
7 posted on 06/25/2003 2:11:02 PM PDT by Buckeye Bomber
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye Bomber
I agree that inquisitiveness can be fostered. How does being inquisitive about black "culture" aid a physics student? Is diversity the only way that inquisitiveness can be fostered. If so, how did the thousands of inventors and scientists before diversity get their inquisitiveness.

Forced diversity is a pandemic. It forces us to focus on what makes us different rather than what we have in common. That is the root of the racial and cultural strife over the last 15 years.

8 posted on 06/25/2003 5:21:36 PM PDT by raybbr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: raybbr
Your point about focusing on difference is a very good one, and I agree with you entirely. However, I believe that you need to expose people to differing cultures and ideas, as well as emphasize common humanity. I'm not sure the focus on the difference is the root of racial problems, but it definitely doesn't help.
9 posted on 06/26/2003 12:10:52 PM PDT by Buckeye Bomber
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson