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Supreme Court determined to kill affirmative action

George Curry | 4/7/2013, 8:07 a.m.

According to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the percentage of Black students enrolled at the University of Michigan had dropped from 6.7 percent in 2006 to 4.5 percent in 2010 as a result of Proposal 2.

The permissible use of affirmative action was thought to be decided for good in 2003. In Gratz v. Bollinger, the court ruled that the University of Michigan’s undergraduate admissions program violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment when it assigned 20 points to minority applicants.

But in Grutter v. Bollinger, the court ruled that when narrowly tailored, race can be lawfully used in combination with other factors as part of the University of Michigan Law School admissions process. In her written opinion, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor cited benefits of “obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.”

O’Connor, who has since retired from the court, said she did not envision affirmative action in place forever. In fact, she suggested 25 years, without giving a reason why it would not be needed beyond that point.

Now, just 10 years later – and despite this nation’s horrible history on race – the conservative majority on the court seem unwilling to leave affirmative action in place for another 15 years.

As Justice Stephen G. Breyer, a supporter of affirmative action, said last October: “Grutter said it would be good law for at least 25 years, and I know that time flies, but I think only nine of those years have passed.”

George E. Curry is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service. He is a keynote speaker, moderator and media coach. Curry can be reached through http://www.georgecurry.com. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/currygeorge.