At the Supreme Court's oral questioning on affirmative action last week, Chief Justice Roberts kept asking about how much ancestry somebody needs to be A Diverse One: 1/4th, 1/8th, 1/32nd? Meanwhile, Justice Alito kept asking General Verilli of the Obama Administration to admit that under the Texas affirmative action plan, all else being equal, race matters.
But the defenders of affirmative action kept saying that no two individuals could possibly be equal, so this ceteris paribus question is meaningless.
Let's try this hypothetical: two blue-eyed identical twins raised together apply to the University of Texas. They have equal GPAs, test scores, extracurricular activities and so forth. They differ only in one opinion. Seven of their eight great-grandparents are minor northern European royalty. But the other great-grandparent is the King of Spain. Does this entitle them to check the Hispanic/Latino box on their UT applications? Enquiring minds want to know! Over to you, Justice Sotomayor .