A majority of the Supreme Court now seems to favor the principle of color blindness and to oppose extending the life of the oppressive, color conscious remedial tools of the 1960s and 1970s into second decade of the 21st century. Thus, at the oral arguments in this term’s case regarding Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and last term’s dual cases on race-based school assignment, things seemed to go badly for the parties seeking to uphold the sacred cows of the old civil rights movement.
Yet in both cases, the Supreme Court did not pull the trigger. In the Voting Rights case, it ended up ducking the constitutional issue. In the school cases, only four Justices would flatly endorse the view that race-based assignments cannot be used to achieve a particular racial balance for its own sake.
Tomorrow, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down its ruling in Ricci, the New Haven firefighters case, an egregious instance of racial discriminaton against white citizens. Will the Court finally be able to say “no” unequivocally to those who still demand preferential treatment for members of some racial groups at the expense of members of others?
JOHN adds: It would be wonderful if the Supreme Court would come out foursquare against race discrimination by government, but I’m afraid it’s too much to hope for. My guess is that they will duck the issue once again. Who was it–Orrin Hatch, maybe?–who said quite a few years ago that we should re-enact the Fourteenth Amendment, and add: This time we really mean it.