March 20, 2012

Minnesota Daily doesn't understand the Constitution

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

As a University of Wisconsin alum, I am the first to point out that the Gophers have lost the Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe 8 times in a row, or that their basketball team hasn’t had a winning record in the Big Ten since 2005.  But, my criticism of this editorial in the Minnesota Daily does not stem from any playful athletics banter.  It is a disgraceful attempt to justify race-based discrimination, without any concern for justice, equality, or the Constitution.

Fortunately, the first comment after the article is from “rogerclegg,” who basically shreds the entire reasoning of the editorial:

The editorial’s basic argument is that racial preferences are a good way to address socioeconomic disparities.  There are two fundamental problems with this argument.  First, as a matter of law, it is a complete nonstarter.  The Supreme Court has rejected the notion that racial preferences can be justified by pointing to generalized racial disparities in our society.  Second, the justices were right to do so.  There is no reason to use race as a proxy for social disadvantage.  Most African Americans who benefit from admissions preferences are from middle-class or upper-class backgrounds; there are plenty of whites and Asians who are poor.  What difference does it make if a student asserts that his disadvantage can be traced to his ancestors’ suffering under Jim Crow rather than the fact that his ancestors were fleeing a tyrannical regime or grew up in Appalachia or some other cause?

I don’t know for sure, but I assume that comment is from longtime PLF friend, Roger Clegg, President of the Center for Equal Opportunity.  Well said Roger.

I would much rather my Univeristy stopped its race-based discrimination policies as opposed to winning a football trophy, but, sadly, the University of Wisconsin has no bragging rights on this issue.  A Center for Equal Opportunity study released a few months ago demonstrated that the University of Wisconsin is one of the nation’s worst violators of granting race-based preferences.  Hopefully Fisher ends this travesty once and for all.

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