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Monday, June 23, 2003

Posted by Jake - Court issues split decision on affirmative action - Jun. 23, 2003

The court issues a mixed decision and both sides are beating their chests in victory. I got one guy on Fox News happy that they have circumscribed the racial contribution to admissions, and I got the Head of the Michigan Law School saying "We won! We won!". I guess some people are happy that guilt has once again won over reason.

The problem with that I have with this ruling is not that it didn't go far enough. I never really believed that they were going to end it completely yet. The problem that I have with this decision (and you are welcome to read it for yourself) is that it is just as vague as Bakke was.

In one decision it says that you can't quantitate racial admission via a point system, yet in the other it says that race is still a compelling state interest. But the decision never bothers to define what a compelling state interest is (read dissent under the heading A), nor does it attempt to explain what would constitute a legal system. This leaves the people at Michigan Law to decide what standards to use (I believe that the phrase "critical mass" is used, you try and define it).

I think one of the dissenters wrote: This ``we know it when we see it'' approach to evaluating state interests is not capable of judicial application. They basically say that you can use race but you can't use quotas or points. If I were an admissions officer I would be scratching my head right now.

This vagueness will undoubtedly result in another affirmative action case in 10 to 20 years. We'll see what happens then.

Forward looking: What do I think will spell the end of affirmative action? Right now there is a 140,000 person disparity in the number of women and the number of men graduating college each year. There are 140,000 more women. In some schools this disparity has reach an 80/20 split between men and women, causing those schools to enact policies to encourage male applicants, in some cases resembling affirmative action policies.

That is some funny shit: affirmative action for white males. We may be feel guilty enough to countenance affirmative action for under-represented minorities for another generation, but I guarantee the moment it starts the applied widely to males, much less white males, the party is over.


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