Friday, April 25, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court Affirmative Action Decision in Schuette and the Difference between RACE and Assigned Weights in Race Horse Handicapping

This is a mirror follow-up to our previous posting at LawPundit on U.S. Supreme Court Holds that a State Can Ban Racial Affirmative Action in Public University Admissions: Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

Below are some links to in part conflicting mainstream opinions on the significance of the holding in the affirmative action case Schuette v. BAMN (slip opinion, No. 12–682, argued October 15, 2013—, decided April 22, 2014).

Ann Althouse - Althouse
The Supreme Court decides Schuette, the affirmative action case about Michigan's state constitutional law ban on affirmative action
which she follows up with
The way to get a concurring opinion out of Chief Justice Roberts is to rewrite his famous aphorism, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race").

After reading Althouse, we asked the question of what distinguishes RACE and the U.S. Constitution from the assignment of weights in race horse handicapping, whereby stronger horses are assigned more weight to carry than weaker horses in order to make races "more competitive".

RACE may matter, as Althouse emphasizes via Justice Sotomayor, but life is not horse racing and we are not opting for a world in which people best suited for being brain surgeons are unduly "weighted" so that those least suited for being brain surgeons are "unweighted" to give them a competitive chance to do brain surgery. The same holds true for academics in general and for all other areas of human activity.

Of course, as regards contra views citing to other forms of "permissible" discrimination, e.g. we find the "legacy" practice of academic and other institutions to be abominable, if understandable, but not illegal, and legacies "could" similarly be "banned" by law, if the people so desired.

Given the vast inequality of wealth and income in the United States, the main problem is that the truly "strongest" horses are taking away the lion's share of the winnings without an appropriate share being given to the "also rans", who are also important, because no one wants to see races in which just the obviously strongest horse alone is participating.

But that problem is not be solved by affirmative action, but rather by more sensible and equitable distributions of the nation's wealth and income.

More opinions:

Robert Barnes - Washington Post

Supreme Court upholds Michigan’s ban on racial preferences in university admissions

Barnes presents an overview of the various issues involved.

Charles Krauthammer - Washington Post
Finally getting it right on affirmative action

Krauthammer concludes that "This gives us, finally, the basis for a new national consensus." Hat tip to CaryGEE.

Andrew Woodman - Huffington Post
In Schuette, Roberts Continues Legacy of Bringing the Court Into the 21st Century

Woodman finds that "this decision has shown the willingness of the Roberts court to take a new look at the data and update jurisprudence for the 21st century."

Dennis D. Parker - Huffington Post

We're All Losers After the Supreme Court's Decision in Schuette

Parker thinks many have lost through this decision, which he says supports "rigging the game" in favor of certain groups.

Roger Pilon - CATO at LIberty, CATO Institute

Reflections on Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

Pilon writes that there is simply too much government, i.e. public institutions of higher education.

Elie Mystal - Above the Law

3 Reasons Affirmative Action Will Be Okay Despite Schuette Decision

Mystal urges everyone to calm down, indicating that affirmative action will continue to be practiced in a myriad of legal ways.

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