Racial preferences not the answer to flawed system

To the Daily:

I am writing today in order to bring up a point about the affirmative action debate which I believe has gone unstated. Further, while I haven’t heard or read the entirety of the oral arguments, I believe that this was the point U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia was making regarding the elite law schools.

The point is simply this; whenever anyone says minority enrollment will decrease if affirmative action is taken away, he is assuming that the admissions process will remain the same. I believe there are race-neutral means to get at diversity (since racial diversity is not the goal), but I know others disagree. Only time will tell. But, either way, the assumption remains.

A similar assumption possibly prompted Scalia’s “elite law school” series of questions. The University argues that it wishes to remain an elite law school while also maintaining experiential diversity. At the same time, the Law School itself is defining what it considers to be an “elite” law student, necessary for an “elite” law school; they rely heavily upon LSAT and GPA to get there. Then, they use a separate process, under their affirmative action program, to get that experiential diversity that is still lacking in the class chosen by LSAT and GPA.

So, I think that what Scalia was attempting to ask, or should have asked, is why is there a need for the two programs? If the students who only get in through affirmative action are still “elite students,” but are not getting captured through the LSAT/GPA process, then the process is flawed. If diversity is so important, why doesn’t the entire process focus on that, instead of treating it as a flaw to be fixed at the end?

And by the way, leave athletes, legacies and the like out of this. Those are not constitutionally-protected classes, and are (or should be) irrelevant to the court. Take those arguments (most of which I consider valid) to the regents.


Jason Killips

Law student

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