The University of Michigan race discrimination cases were argued in the U.S. Supreme Court this morning. UPI reports that thousands of pro-race discrimination demonstrators could be heard chanting outside as the arguments went on.
Not surprisingly, Justice Scalia showed considerable hostility to the University’s position:
“The Michigan Law School program is much like Harvard’s, Mahoney argued, and the students on both campuses ‘overwhelmingly support the program.’
“Sure, they’re in (the Law School) already,” Scalia said.
“Mahoney also argued that ’95 percent’ of the decisions on who to admit to the Law School ‘are not affected by race … This is extremely limited in scope.’
“‘I don’t know of any other (instance) where we have decided a case because very few people were being treated unconstitutionally,’ Scalia shot back.”
Kirk Kolbo argued for the plaintiffs, along with Solicitor General Ted Olson:
“Minneapolis attorney Kirk Kolbo spoke for the white student challenging the Law School admissions program.
“His client, Barbara Grutter, applied to the Law School ‘with the personal right guaranteed by the Constitution that her race would not be counted against her,’ Kolbo said. ‘But the Law School used her race against her, as it does against thousands of (white) applicants each year.’
“Kolbo said race could never be a factor in deciding who to admit.
“But O’Connor objected from the bench.
“‘The (Supreme) Court has upheld using race in certain contexts,’ she said. ‘… You’re speaking in absolutes, and it isn’t like that.'”
Justice O’Connor is probably the key vote in these cases; let’s hope that comment isn’t a preview of her vote.
We will try to get Kirk’s thoughts on the argument and will post them if he is willing to share them with us.
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