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Sorry, Kid, It’S True


Following up on Wednesday’s item, “Say it ain’t so, Mr. President“: Unfortunately, it was. I wrote then that the rumor was that the Bush administration would be sending to Congress on Wednesday a federal highway bill that reauthorized government contracting preferences based on race, ethnicity, and sex, and—sure enough—it did. There may be a silver lining in the administration’s accompanying section-by-section analysis (the offending provision in the bill is Section 1811), which holds out the possibility that the administration plans to revisit the issue after the Supreme Court rules in the Michigan affirmative-action cases; there are pending lower-court cases that bear on this issue, too. But there’s no sugar-coating it: This is a major disappointment, and it makes no sense as a matter of principle or law or politics.


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