Affirmative Action Done For?

Affirmative action supporters are worried about the fate of race-based college admissions programs with the Supreme Court taking another such case up again after only a short break since the last.

Given the Court’s attitude towards the Voting Rights Act, the worry is probably well founded. What can be done?

First, the majority of high-profile Supreme Court cases involving affirmative action involve the fate of students who end up at a slightly worse school, hardly a death sentence. Of course, the reverse is true: the minority student ending up merely one rung down the ladder at one law school instead of the other is still on track to become part of America’s professional elite.

Rearranging deck chairs on the ship of the professional elite is probably not the only end racial equality advocates had in mind when the program began.

Meanwhile, basic education for minorities is hardly better than it was decades ago.

If the Supreme Court stops race-based college admissions, the appropriate response would be to shore up Kindergarten, not law schools, in poor and minority neighborhoods. That, in the long run, would do much more for the fate of far more minorities than moving them one rung up the law school hierarchy.