By Any Means Necessary: The Obama Victory And Affirmative Action
Print Friendly and PDF

From the NYT on the 8-7 decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Ward Connerly and Jennifer Gratz's 2006 Michigan Civil Rights Initiative to ban racial preferences in Michigan government policy (e.g., racial preferences in U. of Michigan admissions), which was approved by 58% of the vote in that blue state in November 2006.

People trying to change any other aspect of university admissions policies, the court said, had several avenues open: they could lobby the admissions committee, petition university leaders, try to influence the college’s governing board or take the issue to a statewide initiative. Those supporting affirmative action, on the other hand, had no alternative but to undertake the “long, expensive and arduous process” of amending the state Constitution. 

“The existence of such a comparative structural burden undermines the equal protection clause’s guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change,” said Judge R. Guy Cole Jr., writing for the majority.

This is an extraordinarily unpersuasive argument by the Sixth Circuit majority. Before this ruling, proponents of affirmative action faced exactly the same burdens as the opponents of affirmative action faced in 2006 when they got their initiative approved. Heck, proponents don't need 58% of the vote like the ban got, they just need 50% +1 vote to amend the state Constitution. 

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Oh, wait, gender equality is part of the War on Women, just like racial equality is racism. Sorry, my Newspeak is a couple of weeks behind the times, so my apologies.

Seriously, if Romney had won last week, do you think we'd see this particular decision this week? The majority's reasoning (such as it is) seems like a particularly blatant middle finger extended to the white and Asian voters of Michigan to demonstrate to them that racial preferences for blacks and Hispanics will be protected By Any Means Necessary (the title of the thuggish plaintiffs who triumphed in the Sixth Circuit.)

Christopher Caldwell once said: "One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can't be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can't be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong." We may have permanently made that transition last week, especially if Obama gets to replace a Republican Supreme Court justice over the next four years.

Certainly, the atmosphere has changed since Election Day toward media displays of naked racial animus. Partly this is the veil dropping once the need for politeness was over, but it's also, as Gen. Patton said, that Americans love a winner.

Print Friendly and PDF