Supreme Court Precedent and Anti-Asian and Anti-Woman Affirmative Action

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One of the problems with Facebook's latest version is that it's no longer possible to import blog posts and keep them comment-free while directing comments to the actual blog. So I've got Facebook friends who comment in Facebook on my blog posts, and those comment threads never appear on my actual blog. One recent comment thread on the Facebook import of this post led to my observing something that hadn't occurred to me before about some of the strange new dynamics of developments in how affirmative action is practiced.

There's an interesting phenomenon now of colleges having higher standards for Asian applicants than they do for white applicants in order to keep the numbers closer to where they want them to be. The diversity argument for affirmative action is now being used to justify discrimination against Asians. Since the diversity argument is the only one the Supreme Court has been willing to recognize as constitutional, none of the other arguments for affirmative action can be used to make this unconstitutional (e.g. remedying past discrimination, counterbalancing current discrimination at other levels of society, reparations for past mistreatment). That makes this perfectly constitutional in its justification, as far as the Supreme Court is concerned.

But I'm wondering if it's against the spirit of the Supreme Court's official stance. The diversity justification is supposed to support the favoring of sufficient diversity in the academic environment, not to ensure exact representation of each group according to any prejudged percentages. Unless the number of Asian students at the higher levels of higher education is so high that it's hindering diversity, I suspect the architects of current case law (Justices O'Connor and Breyer) would frown on admitting Asians at lower rates. It might look a lot more like the quota system that the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional rather than giving underrepresented groups a leg up to make sure they have a seat at the table. They're already doing that with non-Asian non-white groups, and it's not as if whites need a leg up to have a seat at the table.

I'm thinking the same thing is true about the schools that are lowering standards to admit more male students, given that women are becoming a noticeable majority in higher education. It's not as if men are in danger of losing a seat at the table or as if diversity is really threatened at this point by some lower numbers of men in higher education. This seems to be motivated by a desire to have the number of each sex be closer to their representation in society at large. Doesn't that seem to be the spirit of quotas that the Supreme Court has consistently affirmed as unconstitutional? I'm pretty sure at least six of the current members of the Supreme Court would take that view, given what I've seen from them on previous opinions. But I've never heard of anyone even suggesting that someone initiate a lawsuit to challenge these practices on these grounds.

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