The Corner

Affirmative-Action Debate Challenge

This fall,  Fisher v. Texas will give the Supreme Court  an opportunity to revisit the constitutionality of affirmative action in higher education. My   U.S. Commission on Civil Rights colleagues Gail Heriot, Todd Gaziano, and I filed a brief in support of cert, arguing, among other things, that affirmative action harms its intended beneficiaries.

Last September, the Center for Equal Opportunity released a study showing that at the University of Wisconsin black and Hispanic undergrad applicants are 500 times more likely to be admitted  than their white and Asian comparatives. Black and Hispanic law school applicants are 61 times more likely to be admitted than their white comparatives.

University of Wisconsin officials responded to the CEO study by asserting that their admissions policies comply with “the guidelines handed down by the Supreme Court.”

That assertion was, and is, profoundly false. Accordingly, I challenged University of Wisconsin officials to debate me on the legality of their racial-preference programs. I invited Wisconsin to send as many professors as they needed to defend their position. They could select the neutral to score the debate. I even offered to spot them 20 points on a 100-point scale. Unsurprisingly, they never responded.

I hereby reissue the challenge, this time to the University of Texas in advance of the Supreme Court’s consideration of Fisher. UT may send as many professors as it wishes to debate the issue. They may select the neutrals to score the debate. I’ll spot them 25 points on a 100-point scale. And because preference proponents often resort to a “fairness” argument rather than a legal argument to support their position, I’m happy to debate the fairness issue also.

If I lose, I’ll shave my head. Look forward to hearing from you.


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