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Education The Courts

Supreme Court Upholds Michigan's Ban On Affirmative Action In College Admissions 410

Posted by Soulskill
from the sensitive-subjects dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "The Supreme Court, by a vote of 6 — 2, has upheld a Michigan law banning the use of racial criteria in college admissions, finding that a lower court did not have the authority to set aside the measure approved in a 2006 referendum supported by 58% of voters. 'This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it,' wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy. 'Michigan voters used the initiative system to bypass public officials who were deemed not responsive to the concerns of a majority of the voters with respect to a policy of granting race-based preferences that raises difficult and delicate issues.' Kennedy's core opinion in the Michigan case seems to exalt referenda as a kind of direct democracy that the courts should be particularly reluctant to disturb. This might be a problem for same-sex marriage opponents if a future Supreme Court challenge involves a state law or constitutional amendment enacted by voters.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor reacted sharply in disagreeing with the decision in a 58 page dissent. 'For members of historically marginalized groups, which rely on the federal courts to protect their constitutional rights, the decision can hardly bolster hope for a vision of democracy (PDF) that preserves for all the right to participate meaningfully and equally in self-government.' The decision was the latest step in a legal and political battle over whether state colleges can use race and gender as a factor in choosing what students to admit. Michigan has said minority enrollment at its flagship university, the University of Michigan, has not gone down since the measure was passed. Civil rights groups dispute those figures and say other states have seen fewer African-American and Hispanic students attending highly competitive schools, especially in graduate level fields like law, medicine, and science."
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Supreme Court Upholds Michigan's Ban On Affirmative Action In College Admissions

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  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:27AM (#46822421)

    That's the thing, at least in the case of college admissions anyways, is that this doesn't do what it claims it does.

    It's been found that Affirmative Action doesn't hinder white students from gaining admissions. Instead, it mostly just hinders Asian students by replacing them with Black and Latino. Not by a little, but by a LOT. The root cause has to do with the percent of those applying doesn't match the percent of those members of the overall population. So they feel they need to correct it by dumping off a few perfectly qualified Asian students in favor of some potentially less qualified Black or Latino ones.

    Somebody speak out if I'm wrong here, but in this age of "white privilege," how is it that Asians are any less disadvantaged than Blacks or Latinos? Historically, Asians have been every bit as downtrodden in western countries, and blacks aren't the only ones who can claim being victims of slavery in western countries either (few people seem to know that Irish slaves were also common in the Americas at one point; in fact during the mid 1600's, Ireland's population dropped by almost half due to slave exports.)

    The only explanation I can come up with is that since Asians are culturally very disciplined, they tend to excel academically. Likewise, you see more of them apply, and thus see more of them do well. I think whites are only slightly less disciplined than Asians, so they come at a close second. I'm generalizing of course, but when you look at the kinds of values that black culture has, it does fit the narrative (Bill Cosby once lamented this, how he hears of other blacks who often describe being successful as "acting white," as if it was a bad thing.)

    But what do I know, I'm just one of those white guys who deserves to have the word "privileged" written across my face in permanent marker and therefore I can't possibly see racism due to my color.

  • by the phantom (107624) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:58AM (#46823459) Homepage
    Affirmative action was established by Executive Order 10925 [eeoc.gov], which focusses on data collection. Executive Order 11246 [eeoc.gov] supplanted this order (note that this order has been amended somewhat, but the link on EEOC's website seems to be dead, and I don't have the interest to find the most recent version---it is not necessary to counter your point, and if you really care, you can probably find it yourself). Again, note the emphasis on collecting data regarding existing discrimination, and the lack of any order to conduct "positive discrimination."

What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying. -- Nikita Khruschev

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