Phi Beta Cons

‘Affirmative Action’ Could Be In Serious Trouble

In his latest Minding the Campus essay, K. C. Johnson reviews the considerable evidence on the harm done to the supposed beneficiaries of racial preferences through the mismatch effect. When the Court considered preferences in the 2003 University of Michigan cases, it simply chose to defer to the university’s “expertise” in education when it said that without preferences it would lose out on the great educational benefits that purportedly come from student-body “diversity.” There was no discussion as to the magnitude or reality of those benefits, nor — and this is Johnson’s point — of the evidence that the harms done by this policy considerably outweigh whatever benefits it might have.

The proponents of racial preferences face what I think is an insurmountable challenge: demonstrating that their pet policy is so beneficial on net that it justifies the use of racial classifications. If the Court actually applies “strict scrutiny” in Fisher, the case is no contest.

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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