More Questions After the SCOTUS Rulings

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued its rulings on the two University of Michigan affirmative action cases. Advocates on both sides of the affirmative action debate waited anxiously for the results, but other than revealing the fact that our nation’s highest court places the ideas social engineering and political correctness above the Constitution, the decisions answered no questions. In fact, they have created a whole new list of questions.

The average American looking at these two rulings likely would consider them contradictory – the average American would be right. First, in the case of the U of M law school (Grutter v. Bollinger), the court found (5-4) that the school’s practice of giving race extra consideration and more weight than other factors is an acceptable practice because, since the 1978 Bakke decision, the benefits of diversity have been considered a “compelling” reason for colleges and universities to give weight to some races. Then in the case of the undergraduate admissions practices of the U of M (Gratz v. Bollinger), the justices ruled (6-3) that the school’s system was in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because it was giving blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans 20% of the needed points to gain entry because of their preferred race.

Examining these decisions, one finds that a majority of the Supreme Court believes it is fine to discriminate based on skin color, just as long as one does so covertly or at least puts the right spin on it. Apparently, the problem for the University of Michigan, as the Supreme Court saw it, was that administrators of the undergraduate enrollment program had the gall to actually set up a point system to put affirmative action into practice.

Here are a few questions in response to these rulings:

–If racial discrimination is acceptable, even important, for college admissions and diversity, why are limits on the administration of that discrimination acceptable?

–If racial discrimination is good because it promotes diversity, an idea that has a “compelling state interest,” why is racial discrimination evil when used to fight terrorism, a “compelling state interest” if ever one existed?

–If diversity is a “compelling state interest” that benefits all students, why does that concept not apply to historically black colleges?

–Why is the Washington Post‘s Richard Cohen able to figure out this issue, but a majority of our Supreme Court justices cannot?

–What percent of a one’s bloodlines must be of a particular minority in order to qualify for affirmative action at various universities?

–Why are blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans the “preferred” races at U of M, but not Asians and Arabs? And why is that OK?



  • Fox News: High Court Has Split Decision on Affirmative Action
  • Washington Post: In Split Decision, Court Backs Affirmative Action
  • Washington Post (Richard Cohen): Diversity at What Cost?
  • CNN: Narrow Use of Affirmative Action Preserved in College Admissions
  • White House: President Applauds Supreme Court for Recognizing Value of Diversity
  • New York Times: Justices Back Affirmative Action by 5 to 4
  • Washington Post: Court’s Affirmative Action Opinions Vary
  • Fox News: Clarence Thomas Split in Affirmative Action Decisions
  • Washington Post (George Will): Crude Remedy for a Disappearing Problem
  • Text University of Michigan Law School Ruling: Grutter v. Bollinger
  • Text University of Michigan Undergraduate Ruling: Gratz v. Bollinger