What You May Not Realize About the Supreme Court Ruling that Backed Affirmative Action


Regents
v. Bakke
turns 40 this year, no small feat given the numerous
assaults levelled at it by students rejected from their colleges of
choice based on their race (or so they believe). Even the Supreme
Court itself has cast a disapproving eye on the case, arguing in 2003
that Bakke would no longer be relevant by 2028. Yet, here it
is – entering middle age – and with it the compelling interest of
diversity, a concept that has transformed much of American life,
including universities, corporations, even the arts, but still
confounds constitutional experts. How, for example, could diversity
rival national security as a constitutional interest, a position
taken by the opinion’s author, Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.?

The answer, surprisingly, might lie in
Jim Crow. …

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