Tonight, MSNBC host Joy Ann Reid shared that she was accepted to Harvard University as a result of affirmative action. She also noted that two US Supreme Court justices, Clarence Thomas and Ketanji Brown Jackson, were also admitted to Yale and Harvard, respectively, as a result of affirmative action.
Ms. Reid then questioned what she saw as the hypocrisy of her white classmates who criticized her admission as undeserved while they themselves enjoyed inherited admission status either because of Dad’s money or because Grandpa also attended Harvard.
Ms. Reid’s discussion of affirmative action stems from the June 29, 2023 opinion of the US Supreme Court that the admissions policies of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
That part of the 14th Amendment prohibits any State from denying “to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” And in reaching its conclusion that the Harvard and UNC admissions processes violated the 14th Amendment, the Court included in its rationale that the central purpose of the 14th Amendment was to eliminate all government-imposed discrimination based on race.
The Court, citing previous opinions, identified three criteria that the admission policies did not follow: compliance with strict scrutiny; avoid stereotyping an applicant or putting other applicants of another color at a disadvantage; and that the policy ends.
The criterion that most interested me was strict scrutiny. Strict scrutiny is a two-pronged test. The first question asks if racial preference is used to promote a compelling governmental interest. The second aspect asks if the use of the breed is necessary to achieve that interest.
According to the Court, the compelling interests expressed by Harvard and North Carolina could not be “judicially reviewed” by the court. Training future leaders, gaining new knowledge based on diverse perspectives, preparing engaged and productive citizens, etc., sounded like laudable goals, but they weren’t “coherent enough for close scrutiny”.
In other words, the word salad needed the protein to drive judicial review.
I think the black leadership failed to do two things. First, the black leadership has failed to stay ahead of the media. The mainstream media have been reporting that affirmative action has been banned. Nothing of the sort has happened.
What the court said is that the admissions policies failed because they did not meet strict scrutiny; did not avoid stereotypes; and they’re not done yet. Make these corrections and you may get your policy back. Black leadership must be at the forefront in reassuring blacks on the issue of whether affirmative action has been banned. Does not have.
(My take on American society, capital, and democracy. See amazon.com/author/altondrew)
Second, the black leadership should have focused on managing these legal criteria. There does not appear to have been a strategy on the ground to shore up the compelling interests of the government. The blacks were not adding the protein. This, in my opinion, is the result of letting others take the wheel who do not have your interest as primary.
Blacks blew this one up. The next phase is for blacks to take control of the political agenda; go to the courts and legislatures to add meat to the pressing interests of the state.
But first it is necessary to determine what those interests of the State are.
July 3, 2023
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