No Such Thing As An Opinion!

July 1, 2011

Judges say preferential treatment is constitutional? Justice O'Connor is illogical!


As a result of a 2006 Michigan referendum, colleges were stripped of their ability to take affirmative action when granting student admissions.

1) On Friday, CNN
reported the latest developments: 

"A divided federal appeals court on Friday struck down Michigan's controversial ban on consideration of race and gender in college admissions.


The 2-1 panel at the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded the voter-approved ban on 'preferential treatment' at state colleges and universities was unconstitutional, and 'alters Michigan's political structure by impermissibly burdening racial minorities.'"


So, if A + B = C, then C - B = A.  Right?


Let's work backward here.


Since the court found that a ban on preferential treatment is unconstitutional, that must mean that preferential treatment is constitutional.  Right?

After all, if preferential treatment is constitutional, then it must be unconstitutional to ban it!


Remarkable!  I can't believe my own eyes.  Let me try again:


Preferential treatment by colleges is constitutional.


How could reasonably intelligent people, much less judges, make such a claim?


Doesn't the
Declaration of Independence state "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..."?

With that in mind, does it sound like the framers of the Constitution would have wanted colleges to treat applicants unequally?


How could one
possibly justify the claim that it's fine for colleges to overlook academic merit and select based on race?


2) CNN continues:


"The current controversy was sparked by the earlier Supreme Court decisions. In two cases from the University of Michigan, the divided high court said the university's law school could give preferential treatment to minorities -- as one factor in the admissions process -- but could not set quotas or use a point system. Writing for the majority in the law school case, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the Constitution 'does not prohibit the law school's narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.'"


If it's true that the Constitution doesn't "prohibit" the use of race-based decisions, that
doesn't mean the Constitution actually endorses race-based decisions!

If the Constitution doesn't address a particular topic, shouldn't
logic be used to address the issue?

Where's the logic in O'Connor's decision?


Considering that the Declaration of Independence was a precursor to the Constitution, wouldn't it have been logical of her to consider the Declaration as one source of information?


O'Connor says it's fine for a college to allow "narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body".


In other words, it's fine to refuse admission to a qualified white or asian student, to replace the student with an unqualified black or Hispanic student.  This is fine because there are benefits that flow from a diverse student body (never mind that the addition of an asian student would
also add diversity!  Never mind that the addition of a white student might also add diversity, if the college is located in a predominantly black neighborhood!)

What are the benefits that supposedly flow from a diverse student body?


The only benefit I can think of is this:  If blacks and Hispanics see others of the same racial background gaining entrance into college, they might be motivated to work harder during high school.


But what good is it if more blacks and Hispanics become qualified for college?  After all, there are a limited number of spots in college, and the colleges
already had enough qualified applicants in the first place!  Remember, they threw away the application of the qualified white and asian persons!

In addition,  it's not clear that the admission of qualified blacks and Hispanics would
even result in high school blacks and Hispanics being more psychologically motivated!

After all, when unqualified students enter college, they are more likely than qualified students to drop out!  When high school blacks and Hispanics notice unqualified blacks and Hispanics dropping out of college, that would demoralize them!  That certainly wouldn't motivate them to work harder.


And even if there
is a benefit to diversity, you'd have to show that it outweighs the costs of diversity!

What are these other costs?


One cost is this:  An education was not provided to the person who could have made the best use of it, the person who was most likely to continue on and be productive in the world!


In fact, affirmative action provides a
disincentive for qualified whites to apply to college in the first place, because they know that their legitimate efforts might not get them where it should!

Another cost is this:  As I mentioned, an unqualified person gains entry to college, meaning it's more likely such person will be unable to handle the education, and more likely to drop out.


Even if the person
does graduate, he/she is less likely to excel at college, and those lower grades make them, upon graduating, less likely to get as good of a job as the qualified person would have.

The costs continue:  Regardless of which career path is chosen, the unqualified person is less likely to be as productive as the qualified student would have been during their career!


Affirmative action can also act as a disincentive for
blacks and Hispanics in high school!  Why? Knowing they may be admitted based on their race, not just their grades, the number of blacks and Hispanics who feel the need to study hard may fall, and hence the educational attainment of blacks and Hispanics who do apply for college could dwindle even further!


3) 
"O'Connor in her 2003 decision predicted, 'The court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.'"

I see.  So, O'Connor is apparently stating that the ideal is to have a diverse student body whom, I assume, mirrors the exact demographics from the overall population (after all, if that's not the goal of diversity, what is?)


The goal is
not to have the student body represent the hardest working and most capable members of society.

Not only is that illogical, but O'Connor's logic is inconsistent with another finding of the court!


Remember,. O'Connor, writing for the majority, stated that the goal is to have a diverse student body, presumably one that mirror the demographics of overall society.  In essence, that's a
quota. Right?

But, as I already mentioned, the court
also found that although race could be narrowly used as a factor, colleges "could not set quotas or use a point system."

So which is it? Quotas or no quotas?


In essence, the court has actually said this:


In order to achieve the quota of a diverse enough society, colleges can use affirmative action narrowly, but cannot use quotas.


Does that make sense at all?


It's a sad commentary on the state of the USA that Sandra Day O'Connor, someone certainly not capable enough for the role, had such an
influential role: A Supreme Court Justice.

Or is it possible that Sandra Day O'Connor
was aware of how illogical her argument was?  Is it possible she purposely acted illogical, as a radical would?


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