The Corner

It Got Worse

In rereading Brown v. Board of Education on its fiftieth anniversary, I recalled how conservatives have frequently criticized the opinion itself as being long on sociology and short on legal analysis. But in comparison with last summer’s decision in Grutter v. Bollinger—upholding the use of racial preferences in admission by the University of Michigan law school—Brown is a model of rigor and restraint. Brown makes reference to the Constitution’s text and history, and relegates the sociology by and large to footnotes; Grutter, on the other hand, makes no pretense of following any legal text and puts the sociology—all dubious—front and center. One shudders to imagine what Supreme Court opinions will read like fifty years hence.

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