The Corner

The Forgotten Statute

My latest Bloomberg column notes that the kind of affirmative action program on which the Supreme Court ruled is illegal under federal law. The Court’s great mistake in this area was to rewrite the law back in 1978.

When there’s no need to decide what the Constitution says about a policy, the justices shouldn’t take up the question. And there’s already a statute that settles whether universities should be able to take race into account in admissions: the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

That law holds that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

These words are not tricky to interpret. . . .

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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