Affirmative action is dead

Even a liberal women’s block vote in the Supreme court could not block the inevitable.

Michigan is now free from the restraints of affirmative action in the Education arena. The 6-2 victory can be directly attributed to the Southern White backlash that helped elect Republican presidents with an objective to turn the Supreme Court red (among the new inductees were conservative icons such as Clarence Thomas who rose to prominence due to …affirmative action). The surprising YES vote was that of liberal Stephen Breyer. 

Now many more ballot initiatives are anticipated at the state level to roll back quotas in other areas as well.

But the majority decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, went well
beyond that. Without saying so explicitly, it appeared to give its
approval to ballot initiatives designed to roll back affirmative action
in other areas as well, such as hiring employees, awarding contracts—and
ending racial segregation.

This is in effect good news for Asians (incl. Browns), until a time when Asians become too successful and the whites decide to vote for quotas (proportional to the population mix) as has been suggested in India.
The 6-2 ruling upheld the
constitutionality of a measure passed by referendum in Michigan that
disallowed so-called affirmative action in college admissions. Effectively favoring voter initiatives over the courts, the decision was
expected to have repercussions far beyond Michigan — governors of
Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and West Virginia had supported
Michigan’s appeal. 

On Tuesday, liberal justice
Stephen Breyer voted with the conservative majority, and the fourth member of
the court’s liberal wing, Justice Elena Kagan, had recused herself. Writing for
the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that the case was “not about
how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may
resolve it.”
“There is no authority
in the constitution of the United States or in this court’s precedents for the
judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to
the voters,” he said.
In 2006, Michigan voters approved a measure prohibiting
the state’s public universities and schools from “discriminating against
or granting preferential treatment for any individual or group on the basis of
race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.” 
Known as Proposition 2,
the measure was struck down by an appeals court, and the case reached the
Supreme Court.  The Michigan case comes on the heels of a high court
decision last year concerning affirmative action at the University of Texas. In
that case, justices elected not to rule on the constitutionality of using race
and ethnicity in admissions, instructing a lower court to take another look at
the sensitive matter. 

In 2003, the court ruled that universities could
consider factors such as race and sex in admissions but ruled out as
unconstitutional a strict point system such as that used by the University of
Michigan Law School.

Justice Kennedy acknowledged
that debate on issues such as racial preferences “all too often may shade
into rancor.” “But that does not justify removing certain
court-determined issues from the voters’ reach,” he said. “Democracy
does not presume that some subjects are either too divisive or too profound for
public debate.”


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sahar raja
10 years ago

Well, I hope it's dead, but probably not in places like California or NY. The talent discrepancy fostered by affirmative action is absurd and not even obviously helpful for the "beneficiaries" who twnd to get horrible grades.

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