MY BRIEF COMMENT ON THE SUPREME COURT DECISION
My focus here at Zenpundit is primarily foreign policy but since affirmative action is so strident an issue I have the following observation on yesterday's ruling. The High Court demonstrated longstanding continuity, starting with Bakke
by issuing another ambiguous decision that whittles down the allowable parameters of using race in public policy decisions. My sense is that the Court is trying to say " not yet " in regards to definitively ruling on affirmative action's inherent logical conflict with the text of the 14th Amendment
. Constitutionally, affirmative action is pretty much doomed but politically the Court seems to be wary of the possibly explosive electoral effects of an across the board sweep like the Hopwood decision in Texas prior to an election year. Affirmative action will probably continue to muddle along in this fashion for another decade or two until it is undone by the demographic changes of the electorate.
In higher education at selective schools affirmative action has been used to redress the continuing lag between the mean standardized test scores between white and black applicants ( Harvard excepted where the gap is less significant statistically). As a remedy, setting aside moral and constitutional questions, this back-end solution has not been terribly effective in terms of minority graduation rates while having the added negative of being politically and racially polarizing. What affirmative action programs in elite universities have done well however, and this is the real issue seldom discussed, is act as a networking gateway to the American power structure for promising minority students. If you want pure intellectual stimulation you go to the University of Chicago; if you aim to probe the reaches of science you head for Caltech - but if you want to run the world you fight to get into the Ivy league.
When we want to get serious as a society about closing the educational gap for minority students we will put our money, effort and political capital into longitudinal, comprehensive, programs
that work from the bottom up k-12, if not earlier. There are no shortcuts.