Supreme Court Leaves Affirmative Action Alone

by Paul Siciliano


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Today, the Supreme Court published it's opinion with respect to the affirmative action policy at the University of Texas.  (Read the opinion here and my summary here).  The Supreme Court returned the case back to the lower court because they applied the wrong standard when analyzing whether Texas's policy violated the Equal Protection Clause.  In effect, there were no major changes to the constitutionality of affirmative action policies in public universities.  Such universities still have a compelling interest in achieving racial diversity but can only achieve that goal in a racially unconscious manner.  

Ever the jerk, Justice Thomas, in a concurrence, still argues that there is no such compelling interest in a racially diverse student body and the arguments made for such diversity are the same ones segregationists had made in the past.  Devoid of any sense of morality, ignorant of history, and just plain disingenuous, Justice Thomas writes: 

Indeed, the argument that educational benefits justify racial discrimination was advanced in support of racial segregation in the 1950's, but emphatically rejected by this Court.  And just as the alleged educational benefits of segregation were insufficient to justify racial discrimination then, the alleged educational benefits of diversity cannot justify racial discrimination today.  . . .
There is no principled distinction between the University's assertion that diversity yields educational benefits and the segregationists' assertion that segregation yielded those same benefits.

On second thought, considering why and how Thomas is a Supreme Court justice, maybe there is an argument that diversity, for its own sake, does not result in better quality.