In a 6-2 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s affirmative action ban, ruling that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution in order to stop public colleges and universities from using race as a factor in the admissions process.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority, saying that “This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it.” (Italics mine.) He was joined in the decision by Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas.
Dissenting were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Sotomayor penned a 58 page opinion, which she read aloud in the courtroom, saying that the decision tramples on the rights of minorities. “But without checks,” she said, “democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups.” Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case due to having worked on it earlier while serving in the Justice Department.
I’m under no illusion that minority groups as a whole throughout the nation will welcome this decision – they likely won’t. But they should, in my opinion. Affirmative action should be an affront to them, because it’s tantamount to saying that blacks and other minorities are incompetent. They just can’t quite get into a university on their own merits, or they don’t quite qualify for a job based on their own skills or knowledge. They don’t quite… I could go on and on, but you get the point – they need a little help from the lawmakers to ensure they are not only not discriminated against, but are instead guaranteed a number of slots in the admissions process because they’re not capable of achieving it on their own. The problem with that sort of skewed reasoning is that we all know nothing could be further from the truth.
Under the guise of helping minorities, affirmative action has in fact demeaned them, and they should be insulted by it. In fact, they should be seething about it. There is nothing wrong with equal opportunity laws; on the contrary, they are good and necessary, but affirmative action demands that racial quotas be filled. And those very quotas can prevent a young high school graduate who has worked hard to get the best grades and has gained additional qualifications from gaining admittance to a university. Why? Because he or she isn’t a minority. Affirmative action policies, whether or not they are meant to, only serve to promote mediocrity – not the excellence one expects from a university environment.
Therefore, I applaud the Supreme Court’s announcement today. It’s good for Michigan, and it could be good for the rest of the country if more states will enact similar legislation.