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Thoughts on the affirmative action ruling from SCOTUS

By Scott Tibbs, May 2, 2014

Affirmative action has always been (at best) constitutionally suspect, especially if it involves government or state institutions (such as public universities) giving preferential treatment on the basis of skin pigmentation - or worse, outright quotas for racial minorities. That is because of the text of the Fourteenth Amendment, making it illegal for states to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Leftists have argued affirmative action was permissible to remedy institutional racism, but the argument that it is permitted morphed into the argument that it is mandatory somewhere along the way. Such is the argument - plucked from some invisible ink somewhere in the Constitution, apparently - that it is a violation of the federal constitution for states to ban race-based preferences by governments or state institutions.

The hyperventilating over this ruling does nothing but deepen racial divisions while solving no real problems. Saying this is a new "Jim Crow" is one of the more hysterical arguments that is too silly to be taken seriously. It is also completely disrespectful to those who fought real discrimination, sometimes by putting their very lives at risk.

The most frustrating aspect of this is watching people who are supposed to be deciding this case on the law instead make public policy arguments for why Michigan (or any other state) should not be permitted to prohibit racial discrimination or race-based preferences. It should go without saying that Supreme Court justices should not be deciding cases based on their personal political views. It is an utterly shameful perversion of the legal system.

If we are interested in helping those who need help, we should focus on class rather than race - not with preferences but with programs designed to help low-income people or people with limited opportunities succeed. This would be applied whether they are from rural areas or the inner city, and would be based on need instead of racial politics.