Roger Clegg of National Review

Roger Clegg of National Review explains why we must hold our applause for President Bush when it comes to the brief the Administration will file in opposition to the University of Michigan’s race-based admissions policies. It is now clear that the government will say that Michigan’s racial preferences are unlawful because they are not “narrowly tailored” to meet the state’s alleged interest in promoting “racial diversity” on its campuses. But it is not yet clear whether the government will argue that, regardless of how it tailors its preferences, Michigan has no “compelling interest” in achieving a “racially diverse” student body through racial preferences. As Clegg explains, if the Supreme Court strikes down Michigan’s program because it is not well-crafted, but buys the diversity rationale as a justification for race discrimination that is more carefully crafted, then schools “will make a few cosmetic changes in their programs, but continue to discriminate.” This, of course, is what happened after the Supreme Court’s last major pronouncment on this subject in the Bakke decision a quarter of a century ago.

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