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I admire Hugh Hewitt. He’s played a tough but important role by holding up the president’s side in this debate–and he’s done so honorably. Having said that, I think Hugh is off the mark on the very important question of Miers’ views on affirmative action. In any case, Hugh’s argument is a claim that only a highly educated legal elite is qualified to judge Miers on that issue. Without knowledge of Brentwood or the state action doctrine, Hugh says, you can’t draw conclusions from her passionate support for quotas in a private case. That’s just not credible, but it does show that Hewitt is willing to turn to “elitist” arguments when pressed.

Hewitt’s larger argument would be more credible if he conceded that Miers is not a conservative in the mold of Thomas or Scalia on the issue of affirmative action. The evidence for that is very strong. You can at least argue that she’ll be conservative on everything else. But I think the affirmative action issue is lost. And for me, no other issue is more important. Affirmative action practically turned me conservative. Affirmative action is the real reason for campus speech codes. It’s the strategic ace-in-the-hole for professors trying to stack the faculty with like-minded leftists. And affirmative action is the hidden key to the broader corruption of academic thought. (See my “Academic Postmodernity & the SAT’s.”) I’d like to give the president the benefit of the doubt on Miers, but how can I when supporting her would mean abandoning all hope of an end to this pernicious practice?


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