Patterico's Pontifications

6/29/2023

Supreme Court Rules Against Race-Based Affirmative Action Policies

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:02 am



[guest post by JVW]

In a decision that had generally been expected, but certainly was not a sure thing, the Supreme Court ruled that efforts by both Harvard and the University of North Carolina to use race as a determining factor in granting admissions were prohibited by the Equal Protections Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision split along the traditional ideological lines with the six Republican nominees in the majority and the three Democrat nominees in the minority. Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson did not take part in the Harvard decision, recusing herself since she had previously served on the Harvard Board of Overseers.

One interesting aspect of this case is that it provided the public with a chance to peek under the hood of the Harvard admissions process. In the majority ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts described it as so:

At Harvard, each application for admission is initially screened by a “first reader,” who assigns a numerical score in each of six categories: academic, extracurricular, athletic, school support, personal, and overall. For the “overall” category — a composite of the five other ratings — a first reader can and does consider the applicant’s race. Harvard’s admissions subcommittees then review all applications from a particular geographic area. These regional subcommittees make recommendations to the full admissions committee, and they take an applicant’s race into account. When the 40-member full admissions committee begins its deliberations, it discusses the relative breakdown of applicants by race. The goal of the process, according to Harvard’s director of admissions, is ensuring there is no “dramatic drop-off” in minority admissions from the prior class. An applicant receiving a majority of the full committee’s votes is tentatively accepted for admission. At the end of this process, the racial composition of the tentative applicant pool is disclosed to the committee. The last stage of Harvard’s admissions process, called the “lop,” winnows the list of tentatively admitted students to arrive at the final class. Applicants that Harvard considers cutting at this stage are placed on the “lop list,” which contains only four pieces of information: legacy status, recruited athlete status, financial aid eligibility, and race. In the Harvard admissions process, “race is a determinative tip for” a significant percentage “of all admitted African American and Hispanic applicants.”

UNC has a similar screening process, with the applicant’s race being one of the earliest factors in the initial evaluation rather than as a secondary benefit used to supplement an otherwise qualified applicant’s case for admission.

The Chief Justice then outlines the long history of racial discrimination in the Reconstruction era and beyond, especially as to how it pertained to education. His narrative tells the story about ongoing attempts to end racial discrimination, and concludes strongly, echoing his famous dictum that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”:

Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it. Accordingly, the Court has held that the Equal Protection Clause applies “without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality” — it is “universal in [its] application.” For “[t]he guarantee of equal protection cannot mean one thing when applied to one individual and something else when applied to a person of another color.”

I removed the citations in the above paragraph, but the last quote is from the majority decision in the 1978 Supreme Court case Regents of University of California v. Bakke in which hard quotas for minority student admissions were outlawed. And the Chief Justice’s final conclusion gets straight to the heart of the matter in a clear and understandable way:

Because Harvard’s and UNC’s admissions programs lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points, those admissions programs cannot be reconciled with the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause. At the same time, nothing prohibits universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected the applicant’s life, so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability that the particular applicant can contribute to the university. Many universities have for too long wrongly concluded that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned, but the color of their skin. This Nation’s constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.

I don’t really have the time or inclination this morning to slog through the dissents from the left-wing justices, so if anyone wants to take on that task it would be a great addition to the comments section.

– JVW

80 Responses to “Supreme Court Rules Against Race-Based Affirmative Action Policies”

  1. Roberts also cites Sandra Day O’Connor’s famous (infamous?) suggestion back in 2003 from the Grutter decision that affirmative action remedies may no longer be necessary 25 years from now. He points out that it’s been 20 years since that decision and the time to wind down affirmative action is now.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  2. A very likely outcome of all this is that top universities will continue down the path of trying to remove most objective evaluations of students, the standardized tests being the most prominent, and will instead try to steer applications in a “more holistic” direction which will be based largely upon grades (which is a subjective analysis of a student’s work in comparison with the teacher’s expectations and the abilities of the other students in the class) and other factors designed to give the admissions office far more ability to game the system.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  3. JVW —

    I find a system that permits legacy admissions but does not permit any consideration of past discrimination history very difficult to defend. So I can see places like Harvard killing legacy admissions. (Or go to your door #2).

    This isn’t likely an issue for state universities.

    Appalled (9e9853)

  4. Affirmative action in college admissions seemed to give cover to the failures of teachers unions and the public schools in Democrat-controlled areas of the country.

    Improve education and no one would need different standards. But if people keep electing Democrats…then what?

    whembly (5f7596)

  5. AIUI, the basic argument for explicit racial discrimination (“affirmative action”) is that, after more than 300 years of explicit racial subjugation, the majority can’t say “Oh we are all equal now, have a nice day.” Some remedial action is needed.

    Of course, as Justice O’Connor suggested, there is a time limit past which it’s simply discrimination, nor remediation. Or, as I put it in reference to the execrable “Watchman” TV show, the answer to white supremacy is not black supremacy.

    We are now at the point where the Supreme Court has decided that the mitigation of past wrongs has gone far enough. Not only will this strike down a lot of DEI (although they well try to weasel on a bit), but it strangles Reparation projects on the crib.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  6. Appalled (@3)

    I agree that legacy admissions are suspect, but the fairly easy way around that is to favor full-tuition students and the children of donors. It a much harder discrimination case to make when it comes to who is paying for things and who is not.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  7. Unfortunately this decision doesn’t go far enough. As I said on the Weekend Open thread, it still allows sad sack essay stories from applicants about how awful their lives have been for having been (fill in the blank). “Life stories” should have no place when considering college applications. It should be only academic performance, as colleges and universities are about academic achievement, not life stories.

    Attending an elite university is an earned privilege, not a right. Government shouldn’t “ensure” a fighting chance, it is up to the student’s performance. And public schools aren’t the only option, there are plenty of private schools (both religious and secular) that can provide an education that would qualify them to attend an “elite institution.”

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  8. I can’t see how you can square this decision with the race-based Louisiana and Alabama redistricting cases or the Indian Child Welfare Act decision (though the racial preferences in the ICWA were not an issue in that case).

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  9. As someone who got into a first-tier private school, on scholarship, with no family background (I was first in my family to attend college) purely on the strength of test scores and recommendations, I am very pleased with this.

    I very much doubt that an equivalent student today would be able to get into that same school — whites constitute 25% of the current freshman class, down from 58% in 2010. White males are less than 15% of admitted students.

    I hope that this drives a stake through the administration’s racist heart.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  10. I find a system that permits legacy admissions but does not permit any consideration of past discrimination history very difficult to defend. So I can see places like Harvard killing legacy admissions. (Or go to your door #2).

    I am not at all a fan of legacy admissions, and I am pleased that my alma mater does not have a hard quota of slots designated for the offspring of alumni, unlike many of the Ivies (though I am also sure that being a legacy has at least some sort of positive effect on a prospective student’s application). That said, I can’t see any legal reason to prevent a private institution from giving legacy applicants a leg up in admissions, any more than I can see a legal reason to outlaw treating athletes, artists, or even the children of the rich and famous better than the average applicant is treated. Presuming, of course, that this treatment is race-neutral, and that a black, Latino, or Asian legacy at Harvard has the same advantage that a white legacy does.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  11. Rip,

    The redistricting cases involve enforcement of voting rights provisions of the 14th Amendment. They are not favoritism so much as they are preventing a majority from discriminating against a racial minority though disbursing their electoral power to the majority’s advantage.

    In the Harvard case, with their attempts to cap Asian admissions, it is a quite similar endeavor that was struck down.

    The Indian adoption cases are impacted by the strange status of the Native nations within the American system. They are, in some respects, outside the normal legal structure — especially on the Rez — and concerns about tribal integrity and the failed history of forced assimilation also apply. The rules were already bent going in.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  12. Unfortunately this decision doesn’t go far enough. As I said on the Weekend Open thread, it still allows sad sack essay stories from applicants about how awful their lives have been for having been (fill in the blank). “Life stories” should have no place when considering college applications. It should be only academic performance, as colleges and universities are about academic achievement, not life stories.

    Where I disagree with you is that private universities should be given wide latitude in building a freshman class which they thinks reflects the character of the institution. If that means that they want all 50 states represented or that they want students of a variety of socio-economic backgrounds represented or that they want to ensure that they get a subset of students who intend to study 16th Century Flemish Poetry each year, that is entire at their own discretion. But race-based policies, as this Court is finally acknowledging, are beyond the pale.

    I have argued in the past from a purely libertarian perspective that Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wellesley, Cornell, etc. ought to be able, as private institutions, to set hard quotas for race, sex, religion, whatever they desire. But at the same time, the Federal Government would be justified in determining that federal research grants can no longer go to those universities, nor can students use federal tuition grants or federally-backed loans to attend those universities.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  13. Attending an elite university is an earned privilege, not a right. Government shouldn’t “ensure” a fighting chance, it is up to the student’s performance.

    I disagree, to an extent. If you have a student applying who is the child of, say, bus drivers with high-school educations, and a slightly more qualified student applying who is the child of well-educated hedge fund owners, you really do need to look at degree-of-difficulty in obtaining their accomplishments.

    Is race a factor there? Maybe, but not between two bus-driver families, and it SURELY should not favor the child of black hedge-fund owners.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  14. I have spent most of my adult life in academia, at four different institutions, from large to small, public to private, top tier to mid tier.

    And it is indeed a mess, everywhere. I am always surprised that my colleagues are unaware of the “Jewish Quota” that was used specifically to keep people of Jewish descent out of many top tier and Ivy schools in the first half of the 20th century…to keep “too many Jews” from gaining admission.

    Kind of sounds like the Asian situation, doesn’t it? And the Big Names cannot help themselves but fall into the anti-Asian trap.

    There are lots of end runs around race based hiring or admissions. But I find that most academics are so convinced of the cosmic rectitude of their world view that they prefer to just bull their way through clear discrimination based on melanin content.

    This issue has been a long time coming, and it exemplifies the “clerisy” concept in universities and colleges.

    The real problem is simple: we have awful secondary schools. And if you think universities are strange, secondary school (specifically, the administration of) are even weirder. I have seen much evidence to support the idea that excellent schooling prepares people for “excellent” institutions later.

    Rich people will be okay.

    The part that makes me shake my head is that if the universities and colleges tried to show preference based on economics, they would also gain the racial composition that they claim to value (putting aside lack of preparation from awful schools, of course).

    Legacy admissions? The real reason that they exist is to get alumni to contribute more money. But the Ivies have so much money that should not matter. Ugh.

    There will be much gnashing of teeth and virtue signaling on my campus this fall.

    Sigh.

    Simon Jester (4758fd)

  15. The thing that ought to be highlighted, is that Roberts specificallys calls out any attempt to indirectly impose race-based admissions.

    Roberts: ““[W]hat cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly. The Constitution deals with substance, not shadows,” and the prohibition against racial discrimination is “levelled at the thing, not the name.”

    So, any attempts to indirectly impose it should face legal challenges going forward.

    whembly (5f7596)

  16. Simon,

    I’m guessing that “but it’s the law” won’t be a good thing to say.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  17. So, any attempts to indirectly impose it should face legal challenges going forward.

    And damages and penalties for knowing violations. That was a warning.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  18. I see that Biden is trying to equate “normal” with center-Left.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  19. Rip,

    The redistricting cases involve enforcement of voting rights provisions of the 14th Amendment. They are not favoritism so much as they are preventing a majority from discriminating against a racial minority though disbursing their electoral power to the majority’s advantage.

    Kevin M (2d6744) — 6/29/2023 @ 10:50 am

    Just looking for intellectual consistency. The Louisiana and Alabama cases cut against the grain that SC laid down itself when it ruled that federal courts have no authority to overrule state partisan gerrymandering. The gerrymandering basis shouldn’t matter.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  20. I have argued in the past from a purely libertarian perspective that Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wellesley, Cornell, etc. ought to be able, as private institutions, to set hard quotas for race, sex, religion, whatever they desire.

    Since they receive all sorts of federal funding, they should not be allowed to discriminate in favor or against anyone.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  21. I disagree, to an extent. If you have a student applying who is the child of, say, bus drivers with high-school educations, and a slightly more qualified student applying who is the child of well-educated hedge fund owners, you really do need to look at degree-of-difficulty in obtaining their accomplishments.

    No you don’t.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  22. Biden’s response makes it clear that the Democrats intend to remain the party of racial quotas. So much for “norms” and “the rule of law.”

    Mike P. (e3f501)

  23. Since they receive all sorts of federal funding, they should not be allowed to discriminate in favor or against anyone.

    Good Lord, Rip, did you even bother to read the second sentence I wrote after the first one which you quoted?

    JVW (1ad43e)

  24. I will speak of my institution which was established to educate the native american. For many years, all this meant is people smoked clay pipes at graduation and named their sports team the Indians.

    Given this charter, however, a certain amount of discrimination makes sense. I guess you can accomplish the same thing by accepting applications at an easier rate from folks living in tribal reservations.

    Appalled (9e9853)

  25. As expected, I got an email from my college’s outgoing President, a national leader in the DEI movement. She is not happy. Not happy at all. She finishes with this promise:

    While we are deeply disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today, we are more committed than ever to our mission to prepare leaders who understand the impact of their work on society—all of society—and we rededicate ourselves to working within the boundaries of this decision to ensure that we can maintain a diverse and thriving community of future leaders eager to find solutions to the challenges facing our world. Society deserves nothing less from us.

    I see totally non-objective admissions criteria. No tests, no grades, no recommendations. Just personal essays and perhaps a picture. Just like Rip’s blinders, imposed for similar reasons, just on the other side.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  26. OTOH, the college’s mission, since the 1950s when it was founded, has always been to inject humanities into STEM. I have no problem with that, nor do I dream of returning it to the nearly all-male student body of my time there.

    I just think that it should uphold standards of admission, which it has failed to do, and that the admissions should reflect ALL of society, not just those with the highest victim status.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  27. Good Lord, Rip, did you even bother to read the second sentence I wrote after the first one which you quoted?

    JVW (1ad43e) — 6/29/2023 @ 12:12 pm

    Sadly I did after I posted my response. 😒

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  28. Given this charter, however, a certain amount of discrimination makes sense. I guess you can accomplish the same thing by accepting applications at an easier rate from folks living in tribal reservations.

    I fully support the idea of state-funded institutions having quotas on the number of in-state students they will take, and thus having lower entrance requirements for in-state students. It just makes sense to me that a state higher education institution exists to serve taxpayers of that state. I guess that’s also why I’m willing to allow legacy admissions too, though technically I guess I should only support legacy admissions if the family have been donors. It’s all pretty hard to sort out.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  29. I guess that’s also why I’m willing to allow legacy admissions too, though technically I guess I should only support legacy admissions if the family have been donors. It’s all pretty hard to sort out.

    Perhaps they get a punch card, where after 10 donations they get an “easy admission” token. Why restrict donors who are not legacies? Note that this only helps applicants who otherwise meet some minimum standard.

    Just think, though, what it took for Te3ddy Kennedy to be expelled.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  30. The syllabus notes that the Harvard and UNC systems are impossible to judge under strict scrutiny:

    Respondents fail to operate their race-based admissions programs in a manner that is “sufficiently measurable to permit judicial [review]” under the rubric of strict scrutiny. First, the interests that respondents view as compelling cannot be subjected to meaningful judicial review. Those interests include training future leaders, acquiring new knowledge based on diverse outlooks, promoting a robust marketplace of ideas, and preparing engaged and productive citizens. While these are commendable goals, they are not sufficiently coherent for purposes of strict scrutiny. It is unclear how courts are supposed to measure any of these goals, or if they could, to know when they have been reached so that racial preferences can end. The elusiveness of respondents’ asserted goals is further illustrated by comparing them to recognized compelling interests. For example, courts can discern whether the temporary racial segregation of inmates will prevent harm to those in the prison, but the question whether a particular mix of minority students produces“engaged and productive citizens” or effectively “train[s] future leaders” is standardless.

    Second, respondents’ admissions programs fail to articulate a meaningful connection between the means they employ and the goals they pursue. To achieve the educational benefits of diversity, respondents measure the racial composition of their classes using racial categories that are plainly overbroad (expressing, for example, no concern whether South Asian or East Asian students are adequately represented as “Asian”); arbitrary or undefined (the use of the category “Hispanic”); or underinclusive (no category at all for Middle Eastern students). The unclear connection between the goals that respondents seek and the means they employ preclude courts from meaningfully scrutinizing respondents’ admissions programs.

    The universities’ main response to these criticisms is “trust us.”They assert that universities are owed deference when using race to benefit some applicants but not others. While this Court has recognized a “tradition of giving a degree of deference to a university’s academic decisions,” it has made clear that deference must exist “within constitutionally prescribed limits.” Respondents have failed to present an exceedingly persuasive justification for separating students on the basis of race that is measurable and concrete enough to permit judicial review, as the Equal Protection Clause requires.

    This should stand as a warning to those schools which seek to obfuscate further.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  31. If it wasn’t for affirmative action by republicans to promote uncle toms how would clarence thomas have gotten on the supreme court? If the supreme court will get rid of all legacy admissions that was used to keep jews out of collage and now asians ;but they won’t. Hey thanks supreme court anyway for help keeping blacks and latinx from straying from the democratic party. Very soon minorities will be the majority and it will be pay back time conservatives.

    asset (9b09a5)

  32. asset (9b09a5) — 6/29/2023 @ 3:50 pm

    If it wasn’t for affirmative action by republicans to promote uncle toms how would clarence thomas have gotten on the supreme court?

    That was a political appointment.

    For political appointments, you’re allowed to discriminate in this fashion.

    If the supreme court will get rid of all legacy admissions that was used to keep Jews out of collage

    Legacy admissions have the motivation of encouraging alumni to feel a continuing connection to the school and contribute money.

    jews were kept out, starting in the 1920’s by quotas, like in Russia

    And what Harvard also tried was geographical distribution, because 40% or more of the Jews in the United States were from the New York City area and more from the Northeast.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  33. While we are deeply disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today, we are more committed than ever to our mission to prepare leaders who understand the impact of their work on society—all of society—

    It’s all a lie.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  34. But there was one brief point in the decision that seemed very important to me, and which I haven’t seen mentioned by anyone else:

    The Court soon adopted Justice Powell’s analysis as its own. In the years after Bakke, the Court repeatedly held that ameliorating societal discrimination does not constitute a compelling interest that justifies race-based state action. “[A]n effort to alleviate the effects of societal discrimination is not a compelling interest,” we said plainly in Hunt, a 1996 case about the Voting Rights Act. 517 U. S., at 909–910. We reached the same conclusion in Croson, a case that concerned a preferential government contracting program. Permitting “past societal discrimination” to “serve as the basis for rigid racial preferences would be to open the door to competing claims for ‘remedial relief ’ for every disadvantaged group.” 488 U. S., at 505. Opening that door would shutter another—“[t]he dream of a Nation of equal citizens . . . would be lost,” we observed, “in a mosaic of shifting preferences based on inherently unmeasurable claims of past wrongs.” Id., at 505–506. “[S]uch a result would be contrary to both the letter and spirit of a constitutional provision whose central command is equality.”

    The Chief Justice spent a significant amount of time, earlier in the decision, noting how the Fourteenth Amendment specified equal protection of the law, and that many subsequent decisions, as well as statements by elected officials and others, meant that equal protection of the law meant that all were equal under the law, regardless of race. With the paragraph above, the Court said that neither “ameliorating societal discrimination” nor allowing “past societal discrimination” to “serve as the basis for rigid racial preferences would be to open the door to competing claims for ‘remedial relief ’ for every disadvantaged group” was constitutionally allowable, and that must certainly mean that payments or advantages given to black Americans, from the taxes of white Americans, for the enslavement of their distant ancestors, can be legal.

    [Fished this one out of moderation. – JVW]

    The Dana who isn't an attorney (fa6539)

  35. Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 6/29/2023 @ 11:50 am `

    The gerrymandering basis shouldn’t matter.

    They’re stuck by where their jurisprudence has gone on race and gerrymandering. They;re trying to contain it.

    But these days, how many people really care about race, even when there is strong partisan difference between people of different racial backgrounds?

    If Republicans cared about race, they wouldn’t be trying to find so many black candidates.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  36. discrimination based on melanin content.

    Not even family history, because it is all “virtue” signaling.

    As Justice Scalia pointed out, it’s often not even good for the beneficiaries of the affirmative action, because students may be admitted to a program that assumes more background knowledge (and they’re not discriminating in grading although to say that black students, say, are less prepared can get professors in trouble) and they fail or switch majors.

    It might be of some benefit to the students admitted with lower scores if they could simply then drop ack to another college that assumes less prior knowledge, but that isn’t easy.

    There may be some grade inflation, and reduction of standards, but that is a slow process. A lot of grade inflation happened in the 1960s when it kept some students out of the draft (if I understand things correctly).

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)


  37. If it wasn’t for affirmative action by republicans to promote uncle toms how would clarence thomas have gotten on the supreme court?

    Thomas has written that one of the problems with attending a school during the height of the Affirmative Action period was that racist whites could never accept that he was there on merit.

    But of course assumptions like that are white privilege.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  38. So … what happens to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBICs), yeah, that’s what they call them, like Howard University, now?

    nk (2c7abf)

  39. The Louisiana and Alabama cases cut against the grain that SC laid down itself when it ruled that federal courts have no authority to overrule state partisan gerrymandering. The gerrymandering basis shouldn’t matter.

    But it wasn’t partisan, it was racial. That the two things often have the same effect in our era doesn’t change that. The effect of the gerrymander was to (intentionally) reduce black political power in the state. If, instead, they had reduced Democrat power without splitting black areas into multiple districts, they would not have interfered.

    The 14th Amendment gives Congress the power to enforce laws against racial discrimination, particularly in voting.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  40. HBCUs

    nk (2c7abf)

  41. With the exception of UT Austin, which was the beneficiary of the Roberts’ Court 2013 opinion allowing affirmative action to continue, Texas state colleges follow the Top 10% Rule:

    This is an Automatic Admissions rule for many, but not all, public universities in Texas, and no longer a scholarship program. You may qualify if you meet the requirements by graduating in the Top 10% o your class at a recognized public or private high school in Texas or a high school operated by the U.S. Department of Defense, and be a Texa resident or eligible to pay resident tuition. This rule has been modified to the Top 6% for The University of Texas at Austin; see UT Austin website under Admissions for most recent information.

    It is race neutral and it works for rich, poor, urban, and rural. Hopefully UT Austin will adopt it in full.

    DRJ (816c1e)

  42. Outside the Top 10%, the idea is that students should choose community colleges, private colleges, or lower tier colleges to improve their study skills and preparation. I think.

    DRJ (816c1e)

  43. My guess is that UT Austin coild fill its enture entering class with Top 7% applicants for now, it saves spaces for specia admissind –atletics, legacy, AA, etc.

    DRJ (816c1e)

  44. It is race neutral and it works for rich, poor, urban, and rural. Hopefully UT Austin will adopt it in full.

    I always liked the 10% plan too, because what I hoped it would do is help integrate urban high school districts as kids from privileged families who might not qualify for the top 10% at high-performing schools would migrate to some of the under-performing schools in order to get that higher class standing. And my hope would be that this in turn would raise the level of instruction at those under-performing schools, thereby lifting all boats. But maybe I am being far too optimistic about these things.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  45. Tim Scott calls for end to legacy admissions in wake of affirmative action decision
    ………..
    “One of the things that Harvard could do to make that even better is to eliminate any legacy programs where they have preferential treatment for legacy kids, not allow for the professors — their kids to come to Harvard as well,” Scott said on Fox News on Thursday afternoon.
    ………
    “They’re looking for a way to improve the footprint of Harvard. Let’s make sure that all admissions are based on academic scores and not just eliminating affirmative action, but let’s look at the legacy programs,” Scott said. “Let’s look at the fact that the professors’ kids can go there as well.”
    ………
    “This is a day where we understand that being judged by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin, is what our Constitution wants,” Scott said. “We are continuing to form a more perfect union. The progress in our nation is palpable.”
    ##########

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  46. Kevin M (2d6744) — 6/29/2023 @ 4:34 pm

    Gerrymandering (for any reason) is as American as apple pie.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  47. Texas has been doing this for a decade or more. It is interesting because there is a great deal of self-selection by high school graduates. Big city studdnts want to go to big city schools. Rural studdnts want the reverse, preferring A&M and Texas Tech.

    For some, the college’s acaddmic status doesnt seem to matter as much as the cuktural fit. I think that is a good thing because hoing to college isnt as important as finishing college.

    DRJ (816c1e)

  48. Sorry for all the typos. I am waiting on new reading glasses to arrive.

    DRJ (816c1e)

  49. So … what happens to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBICs), yeah, that’s what they call them, like Howard University, now?

    Much the same as happened to the Seven Sisters, not a lot. Two went co-ed, the other 5 did not. Currently there are about 25 private women’s colleges in the US. Public colleges are all co-ed.

    Howard University accepts admissions from all races. It’s also 72% women.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  50. JVW,

    I remember being concerned about that, pro and con. It certainly happens in athletics. Students and their parents shop for schools to maximize athletic opportunities in Texas. Maybe it happens in academics, too. What I have noticed is entire communities avoiding colleges that are good but aren’t a good cultural, political, etc., fit for their families.

    Virtually no one from West Texas even wants to go to Austin or Rice. A&M and Tech suits them fine. And the local high schools know it, so IMO they aren’t as rigorous in preparing students for upper tier colleges.

    DRJ (816c1e)

  51. Gerrymandering (for any reason) is as American as apple pie.

    True, but gerrymandering by race is illegal.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  52. From the NY Times article:

    But some scholars say that dire predictions over sharp declines are alarmist and that schools will ultimately return to more racially diverse classes as they adjust to the new paradigm. They point to the University of California, which increased outreach in low-income communities. Over time, the number of Black and Hispanic students increased at most schools in the system.

    Richard Sander, a law professor at U.C.L.A. who opposes race-based affirmative action, said that graduation rates for Black students improved after affirmative action was banned in California.

    “The four-year graduation rate at U.C.L.A. and Berkeley was between 15 and 20 percent before Prop 209. It immediately went over the 70s for six-year graduation,” he said.

    It is no help to students to place them in sink-or-swim environments without the preparation.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  53. I like legacy admissions. There aren’t that many at modt schools, and having committed students and parents helps supports all schools — the state schools and private colleges.

    DRJ (816c1e)

  54. The research is clear (but uncomfortable for some) — students do better in colleges where there is a good academic and cultural fit. Putting unprepared students into elite colleges is a recipe for their faikure.

    DRJ (816c1e)

  55. I quit for today. Too many typos. I know how to spell, really.

    DRJ (816c1e)

  56. It is no help to students to place them in sink-or-swim environments without the preparation.

    If they can’t perform without the university conducting “outreach” or other forms of coddling, then they shouldn’t attend an elite university. There are other schools they can attend. Not everyone should go to UCLA, Berkeley, Stanford or Harvard. There is always US Merced or Cal State Channel Islands.

    Universities should focus on teaching their current students, not ” providing academic preparation for high-school students at underserved schools to ensure that they meet the requirements to attend the colleges, and hold academic-enrichment programs in the summer” as they do in the UC system.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  57. True, but gerrymandering by race is illegal.

    Kevin M (2d6744) — 6/29/2023 @ 5:25 pm

    For now. The SC had the opportunity to fix that but blinked.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  58. Fixed:

    There is always US UC Merced or Cal State Channel Islands.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  59. But there was one brief point in the decision that seemed very important to me, and which I haven’t seen mentioned by anyone else:

    Interesting point you made, Dana who isn’t an attorney. NRO has a piece up written by Jeffrey Blehar which argues that even if you find the jurisprudence of the Chief Justice to be very frustrating, he has been remarkably consistent about his belief that racial preference programs, no matter how well-intended they may be, run afoul of the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  60. Comparing the President’s cheap demagoguery about today’s decision to Sen. Tim Scott’s suggestion that legacy admits should be reconsidered, let’s take a look at the academic pedigree of the Biden children and grandchildren:

    Beau Biden: University of Pennsylvania undergraduate, Syracuse University Law

    Hunter Biden: Georgetown University undergraduate, Yale Law

    Ashley Biden: Tulane University undergraduate, University of Pennsylvania graduate school

    Naomi Biden: University of Pennsylvania undergraduate, Columbia Law

    So I would think that if he were a truly serious man (and we know emphatically that he is not) the President might suggest that the children of the rich, famous, and well-connected also stop getting special treatment in the admissions office. Buy hey, his kids got theirs, and to guys like Biden that’s all it is about.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  61. @60 & 35:

    Actually I did touch upon that in #5.

    We are now at the point where the Supreme Court has decided that the mitigation of past wrongs has gone far enough. Not only will this strike down a lot of DEI (although they will try to weasel on a bit), but it strangles Reparations projects in the crib.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  62. One thing that has NOT come out is what happens when an expensive school is admitting an unusually large number of minorities on scholarship. They have to make that up somewhere. Now, Harvard has all the money it will ever need, but few schools have endowments like theirs.

    My guess is that the residue admits (whites and some Asians) had better have the cash or someone else will get in. So, not only are the slots at these schools limited for those without victim cards, but the doors are completely closed to middle class white males.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  63. Hunter Biden: Georgetown University undergraduate, Yale Law

    Purely on merit. I’m sure of it.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  64. My guess is that the residue admits (whites and some Asians) had better have the cash or someone else will get in. So, not only are the slots at these schools limited for those without victim cards, but the doors are completely closed to middle class white males.

    As I have mentioned before, many of the private schools without large endowments turn to foreign students — especially those from communist China — to come in at full tuition in order to be able to subsidize the minority students requiring financial aid. But I’m sure you are right that this also opens up avenues for underwhelming wealthy students who otherwise might be shaky admits except for the fact that they can pay the full $70,000 in tuition and fees.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  65. Purely on merit. I’m sure of it.

    Hey, he’s “the smartest guy” his dad has ever met. Kind of like I am the most handsome guy my mom has ever known.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  66. And if you liked today’s show, come back again tomorrow when our gowned clowns in academia and our similarly-gowned clowns on the Court will put on another performance on the backs of our kids.

    nk (951939)

  67. Military Academies Exempt From Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Ruling
    ………..
    In a footnote within the ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, cited the “potentially distinct interests that military academies may present” when it comes to using race-conscious admissions as reason why “no military academy is a party to these cases.”
    ………..
    The U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy service academies all consider race, gender and ethnicity during their admissions process, but they are not primary factors. In addition to academics, service academies also consider factors that most traditional colleges and universities don’t, like fitness and letters of sponsorship from legislators. Incoming students also usually must be U.S. citizens and display good moral character and leadership potential because they graduate as U.S. military officers.

    While the academies don’t have specific diversity requirements, that doesn’t mean the academies don’t consider race. Potential students are recruited and interviewed and during that process, the academies learn about applicants, which can shape admissions decisions, defense officials said.

    It is unclear whether the court’s ruling applies to two other U.S. service academies, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, which don’t fall under Pentagon jurisdiction.
    ………….
    Service academies are among the most effective ways troops can put themselves on track to be general officers, but service academies have long struggled with diversity in terms of race, gender and ethnicity. Every service also has underrepresented minorities among their general officer ranks, both in terms of race and gender.
    ………….
    According to the United States Naval Academy, of the 1,184 midshipmen that make up the Class of 2026, 108 are Black, 117 are Asian and 180 are Hispanic. At the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., 12% of cadets are Black, 10% are Hispanic and 8% are Asian. At the U.S. Air Force Academy, 13.8% of cadets joining the Class of 2026 are Black, 19.8% are Asian, and 16.7% are Hispanic.
    …………..

    Rip Murdock (28d7d9)

  68. The courts do not raise armies. And they would not be training chemists, either, if academia did not hunger for that toothsome taxpayer money.

    nk (951939)

  69. Can Colleges Be Racially Diverse Without Affirmative Action? Experience Suggests No
    …………
    Nine states, including California, Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Florida and New Hampshire, have already banned race-conscious admissions, mainly as a result of voter initiatives.……..
    …………
    At the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses of the University of California, the share of Black and Hispanic students fell by about half immediately after a voter referendum in 1996. Despite a bevy of recruiting and admissions initiatives, the schools still aren’t enrolling Hispanic students in a way that reflects state demographics, data show.
    ………..
    Among the reasons why these efforts have fallen short: Colleges often look first to socioeconomic status as an alternative to race, given the significant overlap between racial minorities and low-income students. But it’s a flawed proxy. There are more low-income white households than there are low-income Black and Hispanic households combined.

    Another approach guarantees admission to top graduates from every high school. That may yield more Black or Hispanic admissions only if the schools are dominated by such students. Diverse high schools don’t move the needle much.
    ………….
    “If a college or university selects those factors with race in mind, that is going to be just as illegal as doing it directly,” said (Gail Heriot, a law professor at the University of San Diego and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, who in a 2021 legal brief to the Supreme Court argued that racial preferences in admissions don’t necessarily promote integration.)
    ………
    Since Prop 209 passed, the (University of California system) has spent hundreds of millions of dollars expanding the pipeline of prospective minority students. The system, which has 10 campuses across the state, nine with undergraduate programs, built partnerships with high schools and community-based organizations in low-income and more diverse neighborhoods. It stepped up recruiting at churches and nonprofits such as Black Girls Code. Once it received applications, it also paid attention to biographical details such as whether someone held a job throughout high school or the first in their family to attend college.

    While the proportion of students who are Asian remained far higher than their share of new high-school graduates, Black and Hispanic enrollment at top UC schools has lagged behind. Hispanic students made up 53% of new high-school graduates in California in 2021, compared with 27% of first-year students at the University of California, Berkeley and 36% across the UC system.

    Black students, meanwhile, were 5% of the 2021 high school graduating class, 2% of first-year students at Berkeley and 2.4% of first-year students systemwide.
    …………
    In 2012, UC (guaranteed) the top 9% of graduates slot somewhere in the system, though not to any specific school. Other campuses joined Berkeley and UCLA on the sidelines, and now even superstars from some high schools are passed over by all but the Merced location. ……….
    …………

    The article goes on to review what happened in Florida, Texas, and Michigan. For the most part, these “outreach” efforts were exercises in futility. The hundreds of millions of dollars trying to recruit minority students that weren’t qualified to attend was a waste of money.

    Rip Murdock (28d7d9)

  70. At the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses of the University of California, the share of Black and Hispanic students fell by about half immediately after a voter referendum in 1996. Despite a bevy of recruiting and admissions initiatives, the schools still aren’t enrolling Hispanic students in a way that reflects state demographics, data show.

    [. . .]

    Among the reasons why these efforts have fallen short: Colleges often look first to socioeconomic status as an alternative to race, given the significant overlap between racial minorities and low-income students. But it’s a flawed proxy. There are more low-income white households than there are low-income Black and Hispanic households combined.

    Way back in 1996 — holy smokes, 27 years ago! — when we Californians were getting set to vote on whether or not to ban affirmative action statewide (the UC Regents under the leadership of the estimable Ward Connerly had disallowed it in the UC system two years earlier, but the vote in Prop 209 prevented a future Board of Regents from reestablishing it), the Los Angeles Times actually dropped the advocacy journalism for one brief moment and published a story about research a couple of academics had done looking into what would happen if UC admissions preferences were given on the basis of socio-economic factors rather than racial factors. It turns out that those researchers reached the same conclusions as what Rip quotes above: that the beneficiaries of a focus on lower-income households would be rural white students and urban Asian students.

    This dovetails with other observations which have been made about the affirmative action programs as practiced at Harvard and other elite schools. Far from finding students from disadvantaged households in underserved communities, elite affirmative action is a boon to the black student whose mom is a university professor and dad is a lawyer, or a Latino kid who is the daughter of a physician and a school principal. These programs aren’t finding hidden geniuses at schools like Antelope Valley HS or Inglewood HS, they’re getting the “BIPOC” kids from schools like Pacific Palisades HS and Laguna Beach HS.

    But I guess in the end what is really important is that white progressives get to feel good about themselves.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  71. Why is it important that the service academies be racially diverse?

    Those who die in war in this country are almost entirely male and disproportionately white. This is because those are the people who are more likely to volunteer and to be qualified for combat roles. Of course, there are other jobs in the military, too, but remember that many of these are essentially government office jobs, with no risk involved.

    Mike P. (b8fb76)

  72. That was not the case in Vietnam. If anything slightly more blacks died in comparison to their incidence in the population.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  73. So, the dead-enders are suggesting that colleges attempt to hide their discrimination behind non-objective criteria. But if the same admissions patterns follow, they will face class-action suits from rejected applicants, this time asking for huge damages.

    Not a good plan. The Court said “Do not do this.” I think they meant it. Think class-action suits and punitive damages.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  74. Right, I was referring to the recent wars where there was no draft, and so people had to decide whether to serve or not.

    Mike P. (b8fb76)

  75. Share of U.S. military deaths by race or ethnicity of servicemembers during the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1975

    White 85.6%

    Black 12.4

    Hispanic .6

    In the early phases of the war, black casualty rates were much higher than for other races and ethnicities, with some reports showing that black soldiers accounted for 25 percent of the casualties recorded in 1965. This declined substantially as the war progressed, however, the proportion of black service personnel among those fallen during the war was still disproportionately high, as black personnel comprised only 11 percent of the military during this era. A smaller number of other ethnic minorities were killed during the war, comprising two percent of the total.

    Rip Murdock (102247)

  76. More:

    More than 300,000 Black Americans served in Vietnam. Though only about 12% of the U.S. population, Black servicemembers were 16.3% of the armed forces, and up to 25% of enlisted men in the Army, but only 2% of officers across all branches. The proportional increase of Black servicemembers in combat roles was a shift from earlier conflicts. Because of this over-representation, the casualty rate for Black troops was disproportionately higher.

    Rip Murdock (102247)

  77. Simon Jester (4758fd) — 6/29/2023 @ 11:13 am

    Great comment, Simon.

    Your point about the university “clerisy” reminds me of Bill Buckley’s quote about preferring to be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone rather than the faculty of Harvard University.

    There is so much wisdom in that sentiment. It’s why we have lay jurors rather than professional ones.

    norcal (8b5267)

  78. For now. The SC had the opportunity to fix that but blinked.

    That’s not a bug, it’s a feature. The SC had several opportunities to ban all gerrymanders, but punted each time. A cleverly worded initiative in CA might work. Such as:

    “Redistricting in California cannot use racial, ethnic, religious or party registration data in creating electoral districts, nor may patterns of prior voting or other surrogate data be used. Districts must be as compact as possible and include entire cities or other defined communities wherever possible.

    The state Supreme Court must approve statewide redistricting as conforming to this section, and may, at its sole discretion, impose an alternate plan. Any approved plan may be subjected to the referendum process.

    Local redistricting plans may be challenged in state courts to enforce compliance with this section.”

    The frame it as a safeguard against the right-wing court allowing racial gerrymandering.

    Kevin M (2d6744)

  79. There are worse things than gerrymanders.

    In Santa Monica, the city council is elected in at-large elections. The city’s renters are organized behind a “Renter’s Rights Coalition” which routinely wins all seats with a plurality of the vote in a slate-style election. “Eight seats open, vote for 8.”

    The majority of Santa Monica voters vote for other candidates, but get ZERO seats on the council. They’ve sued (using a small Hispanic neighborhood as a proxy plaintiff) to force districting. They’ve lost in every state court, but the State Supreme Court has take the case, and will hear arguments in August.

    The effects of this minority control are evident in city government. Not only is it substantially to the Left of the good Democrats of Sana Monica, but the featherbedding in city government is astonishing. Over 600 employees make over $100K/year and the top 100 make more than $160K/year. Plus benefits.

    Kevin M (2d6744)


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