States Rights Trumps Affirmative Action

     Given the historical fact of racial discrimination in America, I have never understood the justification for selecting a black applicant over a better qualified white applicant for college admission solely on the basis of racial preference when the white applicant had nothing whatsoever to do with the racial discrimination that once existed. This perverse, reverse racial discrimination is the objective of many affirmative action college admissions policies.

      In 2003 the United States Supreme Court (Supreme Court) upheld the affirmative action admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School (Grutter v. Bollinger) and struck down the undergraduate affirmative action admissions system of the University of Michigan (Gratz v. Bollinger).  In 2006 a majority of Michigan voters  approved the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative to amend the state constitution to prohibit any form of racial preference in public education, employment and contracting. Last week the Supreme Court upheld the right of Michigan voters to do so by a 6-2 margin in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. This decision is certain to take its place among the landmark decisions of the Supreme Court on States Rights.

      In a disgraceful, ranting, 58-page dissenting opinion, devoid of coherent legal analysis on the issue before the Court, Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ginsberg, accused the majority of voters in Michigan of being racist in approving the constitutional amendment. The absurdity of this accusation becomes apparent when it is understood that the language of the constitutional amendment approved by Michigan voters is patterned upon language that is replete throughout the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

      As with most ill-conceived public polices, the pendulum of public opinion is whittling away at the shaky foundation of affirmative action. Commonsense tells me that it is only a matter of time until the Supreme Court declares affirmative action unconstitutional, unless enough states, following the example of Michigan, outlaw it first, which commonsense also tells me is likely to happen now that the Supreme Court has opened the door.

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