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February 24, 2012
SCOTUS may scrap affirmative action
It's time to end affirmative action in higher education.
Even Justice Sandra Day O'Connor envisioned an end to it. In her majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, which allows colleges and universities to use race in their admissions process, she wrote, "We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary..."
It's been nine years since that decision, and the high court is once again set to revisit the issue in a case brought by a white student who was denied a spot at the University of Texas.
Will the court quash racial preferences this time around? It should. They are blatantly unfair.
Take a look at law school admissions. Applicants are largely admitted based on their Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) score and undergraduate GPA. But, members of "underrepresented minorities" (URMs) get a golden ticket when it comes to admissions.
For evidence of this, simply go to lawschoolpredictor.com. You can plug in an LSAT score and GPA and it will tell you -- with surprising accuracy -- the likelihood of being admitted to one of the nation's 188 law schools. For example, you can see that someone with a 165 on their LSAT and a 3.5 GPA will likely be denied entrance at the nation's top law schools. But, check the URM box and, voila, suddenly, that person is under consideration at the University of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Berkeley, Cornell, Georgetown and the University of Texas -- all schools that come up "deny" when the box isn't checked.
For more concrete examples of Grutter in action, go to lawschoolnumbers.com. You can see that last year, Harvard rejected someone with an LSAT score of 176 and GPA of 3.81, but admitted someone with a 163 and 3.3. The difference? The latter is a URM. Similarly, the University of Pennsylvania rejected someone with an LSAT score of 175 and GPA of 3.44, but accepted someone with a 155 and 3.7. Again, URM.
Schools like to say they take a "holistic" approach in their admissions process, taking into consideration more than a person's LSAT score and undergraduate grades. They do. Apparently, it's race.
But, why should a person with an LSAT score of 175 be denied a coveted spot at one of the nation's most elite law schools in favor of a person with a 155? It's not like minorities are being denied access to the legal profession. A 155 is a perfectly decent score. Why shouldn't they go to a middling law school like non-URMs with similar scores?
Getting into, and graduating from, an elite law school is an honor. Who wants to graduate and have people look at them and wonder, "Did you get in on your own merit or was it your race?" It'd be disingenuous to say that's not what people were thinking when President Obama refused to release his LSAT score. Would he have gotten into Harvard if he wasn't black?
One legal insider, when asked why non-URMs with high scores are still being discriminated against, answered, "Because the ABA and the Association of American Law Schools mandate diversity and because, as good liberals, they'd do it on their own anyway."
So, affirmative action by any other name.
Thomas Lifson adds:
The race industry is very worried about the pending case, Fisher v. University of Texas, not only because Justice O'Connor has been replaced by Justice Alito, but because Justice Elena Kagan will recuse herself, having been solicitor general and worked on the case.
Apocalyptic predictions of whites benefitting and "minorities" suffering abound, as in this article by a constitutional law professor at UCLA, Adam Winkler:
This is stunningly disingenuous coming from a professor at a campus where affirmative action has been abolished (by an initiative vote of Californians), revealing that the principal victims of affirmative action in California were minorities themselves: Asian-heritage students. The percentage of whites admitted to California's elite campuses at Berkeley and UCLA skyrocketed when overt affirmative action was scrapped, while the percentage of white students admitted barely increased. Texas is home to a large and growing Asian population -- Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, and others. If practices at UT are similar to earlier affirmative action at the University of California, these minority students can be expected to benefit.
It is time for honesty about affirmative action. It chooses favored minorities and disfavored minorities, a particularly repulsive practice. How the child of a Vietnamese boat person can be penalized for the poor academic performance of blacks and Hispanics is a mystery never explained, and mostly evaded by putative authorities like Prof. Adam Winkler of UCLA Law.
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