The same kind of policy that resulted in the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal at the New York Times has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The media didn’t frame it that way, but race was clearly a factor in Blair getting his job and being promoted at the paper, and the court has now confirmed that race can be a factor in deciding who gets educational opportunities and jobs in society. The court promoted the discredited concept of “diversity,” which is exactly what got the New York Times into trouble in the Blair case. The losers will be more qualified white people, higher standards, and society at large.
Not surprisingly, the New York Times hailed the ruling, saying that the “message was a strong endorsement of using race to promote campus diversity.” It appears the paper has not learned anything from the Blair scandal.
Because the Court issued two different decisions, the major media gave the impression that the impact is that race can now only be a factor in admissions policies at colleges and universities. But that’s what most college administrators are saying is their current policy anyway. And that power in the Michigan case, as detailed by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, is in practice “a carefully managed program designed to ensure proportionate representation of applicants from selected minority groups.” In other words, quotas. Rehnquist produced figures proving his point.
The editorial writers of the Washington Post were more honest than most in the liberal media. While the Court ruled against affirmative action in the undergraduate program, which gave someone 20 points just for being a selected minority, the Post noted that it “differs from the law school’s less in its substance than in its transparency?” The paper said the undergraduate program “systematizes much that the law school leaves to the invisible discretion of admissions officers. The message is that the use of race will stand a better chance of being sustained if it is shrouded in vague terms than if it is quantified and easily assessed.” In other words, it is acceptable to discriminate against whites but only if you camouflage what you are actually doing.
Justice Anthony Kennedy cited a former director of admissions at the University of Michigan Law School as saying that when there was a debate over whether Cubans should be counted as Hispanics, one professor objected on the grounds that Cubans were Republicans. Kennedy said the ruling has “the potential to destroy confidence in the Constitution and in the idea of equality.”
Of the three major network evening news programs, only NBC Nightly News mentioned that the court’s only black Justice, conservative Clarence Thomas, said blacks can achieve without the “meddling of university administrators” and that he ruled against affirmative action. The University of Michigan had argued that diversity benefited students. But Thomas cited evidence showing that black students attending mostly black colleges do better academically than blacks attending predominantly white colleges.
The University of Michigan had claimed that most historically black colleges were already diverse. But Thomas showed this to be a lie, noting that at Morehouse College, only 0.1 percent of the student body was white, and only 0.2 percent was Hispanic. There’s no indication that the black colleges will now start admitting more whites for the sake of diversity.
It is troubling that President Bush, who has said he would pick somebody for the court in the tradition of Thomas, issued a statement saying, “I applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the value of diversity on our Nation’s campuses.” He has been badly misinformed about the nature of the ruling. He was also apparently unaware that, on many college campuses, a significant number of members of minority groups who are given racial preferences to achieve diversity end up segregating themselves in separate groups and housing. Diversity divides people, rather than uniting them. It causes resentment among whites.
Supporters of affirmative action should “savor” the victory, said the New York Times. But because the key vote in the case, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, may step down, “they should prepare for the coming battle.”
O’Connor, of course, was appointed by a conservative, President Reagan. President Bush’s father nominated Justice David Souter, who has proven to be a flaming liberal supporter of affirmative action and voted with Clinton-appointed Justice and former ACLU counsel Ruth Bader Ginsburg in favor of the undergraduate policy of blatant reverse racism.
Based on what President Bush said about O’Connor’s ruling, it is possible that he may nominate someone like her to the court. This would please the New York Times but not many conservatives.