Patterico's Pontifications


Think Your Perfect SAT Scores Will Give You Your Choice of Colleges? Think Again.

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:30 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Three 16-year old students from Arcadia, California scored perfect scores on the SAT. It should then follow that that the scores of Hanah Lee, Jeffrey Wang and Titus Wu, combined with stellar academic records and resumes of well-rounded extra-curricular activities would qualify this group to attend any college of their choice. Think again:

In a windowless classroom at an Arcadia tutoring center, parents crammed into child-sized desks and dug through their pockets and purses for pens as Ann Lee launches a PowerPoint presentation.

Her primer on college admissions begins with the basics: application deadlines, the relative virtues of the SAT versus the ACT and how many Advanced Placement tests to take.

Then she eases into a potentially incendiary topic — one that many counselors like her have learned they cannot avoid.

“Let’s talk about Asians,” she says.

Lee then points out the discriminatory system in play:

Lee’s next slide shows three columns of numbers from a Princeton University study that tried to measure how race and ethnicity affect admissions by using SAT scores as a benchmark. It uses the term “bonus” to describe how many extra SAT points an applicant’s race is worth. She points to the first column.

African Americans received a “bonus” of 230 points, Lee says.

She points to the second column.

“Hispanics received a bonus of 185 points.”

The last column draws gasps.

Asian Americans, Lee says, are penalized by 50 points — in other words, they had to do that much better to win admission.

“Do Asians need higher test scores? Is it harder for Asians to get into college? The answer is yes,” Lee says.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Nonetheless, when excellence is rewarded less than skin color, it’s tough not to ask what the point is in doing all the hard work in the first place. And if a student needs such a big bump of bonus points just to get in the door, what happens when that student is faced with the challenging academics and rigorous demands of a four-year college? Are there more bonus points allotted if the preferred student starts to fail? Or is he allotted a few points and a tutor – maybe a tutor who scored 2400 on his SAT and knows the material of study inside and out because he is fully committed to his own academic success, worked incredibly hard to get through the door on his own merits, and is completely up to the challenge of an education that he values above all else?


Harrison Ford Hurt in Plane Crash

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:15 pm

Despite the fact that the plane crashed into a golf course, Barack Obama was not hurt.

Best wishes to Mr. Ford for a speedy and full recovery.

Scott Johnson on the Dangers of Ignoring Plain Text in Favor of Subjective Intentions

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:54 am

As I said last night, it is far from clear, but the good guys in the King v. Burwell case may lose. Scott Johnson explains how this results from the left’s placing the “spirit” of a law over its plain meaning, which he calls the triumph of the leftist will (h/t MD in Philly).

As Johnson reminds us, William Brennan once did the same thing with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which said:

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for any employer, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee…to discriminate against any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in admission to, or employment in, any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training.

As Johnson notes, William Brennan turned “it shall be . . . unlawful . . . to discriminate against any individual because of his race” into the polar opposite: “it shall be lawful to discriminate against any (white) individual because of his race.” The reason? Forget the words, Brennan said. We have to look at subjective intentions. And the subjective intention of the law was to help blacks.

That would be the same thing as taking the words “established by the state” and treating them as though they did not exist. Progressives say they can do that because of the “spirit” of the law — i.e., the alleged subjective intentions of those who wrote the law. Me, I don’t care whether the people who wrote those words actually intended to limit subsidies to exchanges established by the state or not. That’s what they said, and what they said ends the matter.

To hell with their subjective intentions. Those mean nothing.

There was a time when some conservatives argued that what a legal text “means” depends on the subjective intention of the legislators. That it would be “activism” which “violates the separation of powers” for a judge to ignore subjective “legislative intent” for a purely textual reading. I argued until I was blue in the face against such an interpretation, explaining that it undermines the rule of law if the written word is not interpreted as meaning what it says.

With the advent of Halbig/King, curiously enough, no conservative disagrees with me any more. And that’s a good thing.

It is important to remember: when progressives tell you to ignore the words they wrote in a law, that is how progressives undermine the rule of law. They use an appeal to “intention” to make the words mean whatever they say they mean. This sort of thing, if accepted, means the rule of law disappears.

It’s the only thing we have left, and it’s slipping away, day by day.

Hillary Clinton Responds To Email Kerfuffle

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:30 am

[guest post by Dana]

Following a subpoena for her emails by a House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks, Hillary Clinton has responded to the the kerfuffle about exclusively using a personal email account rather than an official email account during her tenure at the State Dept. This also after it was discovered that the external email server registered under a pseudonym and traced back to her New York home, appeared to allow users to completely delete emails and leave no trace behind.

From Clinton’s twitter account:

I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.

For a look at whether Clinton violated the law, both the Federal Records act and federal penal statute “making it a felony for the custodian of government records to hide or tamper with said records”, you can read Andrew McCarthy’s take here. However, he cautions against jumping the gun:

I think there are other potential criminal violations as well. We don’t know enough about the former secretary of state’s emails yet to make a judgment about whether they involved classified matters – which could trigger liability under the espionage act (which governs the maintenance and severely limits the permissible disclosure of national security secrets). It is hard to imagine that no classified matters are implicated, but let’s set that aside for the moment.


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