Bench Memos

Waiting for Schuette v. BAMN

As the Supreme Court justices put the finishing touches on their decision in Schuette v. BAMN, one hopes that they are not too busy to read a couple of news stories. In Schuette, it is being argued that a Michigan ballot initiative banning, among other things, racial preferences in university admissions ought to be struck down as anti-minority. And yet, in California, the SCA 5 legislative effort to repeal the ban there on racial preferences in university admissions was recently withdrawn because of pressure from a racial minority, namely Asians. 

The takeaway, of course, is that racial preferences are (increasingly) unworkable and untenable in a society that is (increasingly) multiracial and multiethnic. And we have learned that, duh, maybe banning racial preferences and discrimination is not so “anti-minority” after all.

And another thing: After the SCA 5 effort was derailed, the response of some African-American and Latino state legislators was to block an up-until-then uncontroversial bill being pushed by, you guessed it, an Asian-American legislator. Which shows why the federal Constitution takes race off the table for regular politics, and why states ought to do so as well. The supporters of SCA 5, in other words, are — ironically — making the case for why anti-preference ballot initiatives are wise.

The justices can add all this to the other reasons for upholding the state’s ban discussed earlier here.

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