The always astute John Rosenberg comments here on a debate held at the University of Virginia, pitting Ward Connerly against a law professor. Connerly, of course, opposes race preferences, and the professor attempted to defend their use. Strangly, Rosenberg notes, the professor’s argument was mostly rooted in the idea that preferences are needed to overcome the effects of past discrimination. The legal problem with that argument, Rosenberg points out, is that the Supreme Court has already ruled against it. And the practical problem with that argument is that boosting a small number of the best-qualified minority students does nothing to overcome whatever effects there may still be from Jim Crow.
The intellectual fragility of the case for continuing to favor certain students over others just on account of ancestry is evident in this debate.