Affirmative Action Stays Alive After Supreme Court Rules In University of Michigan Cases

Over the strenuous objective of Justice Clarence Thomas and his conservative cohorts on the Supreme Court, affirmative action programs will not dismantled -- yet. In a pair of closely watched cases involving the University of Michigan, the Supreme Court:

(1) upheld the use of race as one factor (among others) to achieve diversity in college admissions;
(2) struck down the use of a scoring system to benefit minority applicants to college;
(3) set a 25-year deadline on the need for affirmative action to achieve the goals of diversity and equal opportunity.

In spite of the mixed ruling, supporters of the University of Michigan’s affirmative action programs hailed the court’s verdict that race-conscious policies are constitutionally valid and continue to be necessary in American society.

CBTU President Bill Lucy said, “Conservatives who had hoped the court would use this case to strike a fatal blow to affirmative action programs that benefit students, workers and government contractors will have to postpone their celebration – at least for a generation. By upholding the principle of race-conscious programs, the Supreme Court has restored a ray of hope to millions of students, workers and contractors alarmed by the Bush administration’s reckless attack on civil rights.”

Even though the White House had filed a brief opposing the University of Michigan’s admissions program (calling it a “quota” program), that did not stop President Bush from trying to claim the High Court’s decision as a victory. In a statement, he said, “I applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the value of diversity on our nation’s campuses. Diversity is one of America’s greatest strengths.”

Lucy called Bush’s shameless hypocrisy on affirmative action “an admission by his reelection team that this issue could hurt him with minority voters next fall. But if Bush tries that flip-flop trick, it won’t work, because real supporters of affirmative action like CBTU won’t let Bush run away from his record of deceit, division and deficits.”

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