As we have previously noted, January 16 is the day on which the Bush administration must file its brief and show its hand in the two momentous University of Michigan racial discrimination cases pending before the United States Supreme Court. The question before the Court is the legality of the “affirmative action” admissions programs in the university’s undergraduate and law schools.
Our sources tell us that the administration will file a brief arguing that the programs constitute illegal race-based quotas, but remain “agnostic” on the “diversity” rationale advanced by the university to justify the programs. I think this sounds like a relatively positive outcome, at least compared to what I had feared might be the administration’s position on this core question of principle. The problem is that this would simply require schools to be slightly less blatantly discriminatory and slightly more flexible in administering their admissions programs to avoid liability, and delay the day when the use of skin color is simply proscribed, as it should be. But it is possible to do worse, and the administration’s position should make it a harder for the Court to do worse. If my information is accurate, all I can say (at least at this time) is “On to Baghdad!”
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