Supreme Court OK's race discrimination

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by AAAintheBeltway, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. The Supreme Court today issued another in a series of muddle-headed decisions that have begun to characterize it. On hot button issues the Court's intellectual lightweights--Justices O'Connor and Souter--tend to get pulled in the policy direction favored by the national media. Today's decision was no exception. O'Connor was the swing vote in two decisions examining the University of Mivchigan's affirmative action/racial spoils sytem used in undergrad and law school admissions.

    Ignoring the legal reasoning, which is superfluous anyway in these outcome-oriented decisions, O"Connor was impressed by the difference in an explicit points-based system used by the undergrad school to reward skin color versus the law school's more subtle gestalt approach. Thus she voted to throw out the former while keeping the latter. The takeaway is it is ok to use quotas but try not to make it so blatant.

    While it is good fun to demonstrate the total lack of intellectual honesty displayed by the Court, the principles in conflict here are formidable. On the one side is our professed insistence on a color-blind society, a commitment articulated memorably by Martin Luther King. This principle would seem to have the support of the Constitution and in particular the 14th Amendment which was enacted to mandate racial fairness. The Constitution contains no exceptions for discrimination in favor of minorities.

    On the other side is the stark fact that a purely merit-based system, even if it could be designed and enacted, would apparently exclude a high percentage of native born minorities from higher education. I find it ironic that this concept is both criticized bitterly as racist yet at the same time embraced by diversity advocates.

    Consider the NAACP's comments on this case: "These represent the most significant civil rights cases the Supreme Court will have decided in the last quarter-century," said Ted Shaw, NAACP associate counsel. "This issue is nothing less than whether the doors of opportunity remain open for students of color."

    I have little doubt that if Trent Lott stated that the only way most blacks could get into prestigious universities was to be held to a lesser standard, the NAACP would be screaming for his scalp. Whatever.

    Anyway, today's decision will do little except encourage people to discriminate in private rather than in public. I wonder how you tell if a law school is black enough anyway?
  2. Disagree.

    Shouldn't we have more attorneys that understand and represent the minority base they come from?

    Who can argue better for a person's position than one who has lived through it?

    We are supposed to be judged in court from a base of our peers, shouldn't minorities have the same right to be counseled by their peers? Are there as many minority lawyers as white lawyers per capita in low income and minority based areas, and do white attorney's truly understand the plight of their minority clients?

    If test scores are all that are used to determine admissions, the arguments have already been made and accepted to a point that many admissions, IQ, and other entrance tests are culturally biased in their reflection of scores.

    Give those people an edge in the entrance process. Give them their handicap score to qualify....but judge the results accordingly.

    If they fail, they fail.

    As long as the passing of law school, med school, etc. is based on examinations, and as long as they graduates have to pass the bar or boards to become certified, what is the problem?
  3. Magna

    Magna Administrator

    With this standard, if they were adding slots for those less-qualified people I wouldn't mind it. But the problem to me is that every one who meets the lower standards to be admitted prevents a better qualified person from attending that school. And when all is said and done, that is institutionalizing race-based discrimination.
  4. I suppose we could disagree on what constitutes "most qualified" for the right to become an attorney or other professional.

    I am not convinced that a white Harvard Law School graduate really knows how to best represent the rights of an African American or other minority when it comes to certain issues.

    True we are all Americans, and yes the law is designed to cut across race, creed, and ethnicity, but practically speaking since many crimes are committed by those of lower socio economic groups and minorities, and if a jury is of their peers, an attorney who understands the plaintiff's situation can often make a more compelling case. A prosecutor who is and African American has a better chance of convicting an African American, because in the eyes of the jury, the process of the defendant being charged with a crime is not a racial issue.

    As much as race and ethnicity should not matter, tell me that it doesn't in the minds of a jury who sees an African American with a lily white attorney, versus an an intelligent competent white sounding "brother" defending another "brother."

    When a minority group is constantly represented by whites, it gives a subconscious message that whites are superior, and minorities are inferior, and more likely to be guilty of a crime.

    Yes, it is subtle, but talk to attorney's who practice criminal law before juries and ask them.

    Ask them if Johnny Cochrane would be as successful if he were a bland white dude like the guys who represent tobacco companies.
  5. The back and forth is interesting (not a single Jane You Ignorant Slut yet either - that's refreshing).

    Optional77 - since you raise the idea several times of a black attorney better representing those from the lower socioeconomic strata - how many black Harvard (or insert any top tier law school) grads do you think really end up going out and actively looking to represent those in that economic sector?

    I could be wrong, but I'd guess most of them are more interested in parlaying the Harvard degree into something that pays a lot better than that.

    A further question - would you consider it fair that the son of my black neighbor (who comes from a family with money and who's making at least as much as I am and who hasn't been anywhere near the "lower socioeconomic strata" in his entire life) gets any edge over my daughter in the admissions process?

    For what it's worth - interestingly, he doesn't and he finds the whole talk of providing any form of preference based on race as a way of cheapening those races involved - the inference being that those races need to be given special treatment because they're inherently inferior.
  6. ktm


    Exactly. Those who can speak intelligently from that side of the coin all do so with nearly one voice. To institutionalize this behavior and legally support it does nothing more than cause those negatively affected to look down upon those who have benefitted at their expense. Yet another step in the wrong direction. I predict this will further serve to polarize this country in the coming years.
  7. the best score and the best man should always get the best anything period....the National Basketball Assoiciation is a perfect example ( which by the way is dominated by African Americans ).....I am afraid aid is a different issue ( had i not received help; the university may have been out of my reach )...

    Lets face is smart I dont care what language you speak or what color you are.
  8. maxpi


    The times they are a'changin'.

  9. If this 'cultural bias' really exists in entrance exams & IQ tests, why haven't the liberal intellectuals been able to compose culture neutral exams as replacements?
  10. Rearden,

    Good point. I'm not even sure they still make that cultural bias argument. They pretty much rely on the diversity hobby horse. Diversity is a brilliant concept for institutionalizing race quotas, because the need for it will never end. It is independent of concepts of making up for past discrimination or cultural bias. These universities that are in favor of quotas all just say flatly, well, we have to have diversity. It's essential. They Universityof Mich. relied on it so that they produced their own "study" that purported to demonstrate, big surprise, that diversity was essential. Others say it only proved that diversity produced students who adopted more PC positions on controversial issues. Which I suppose is why it is viewed as essential.

    One question. If diversity is so damn essential, why is only racial diversity relevant? What about political diversity? I don't hear the universities and media crusading for that. That's one place that they like things just the way they are.
    #10     Jun 23, 2003