Archive for the ‘Affirmative action’ Category

Prominent black men ask Obama: What about black women and girls?

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

(Washington Post) A group of prominent black men — 210 so far — have written an open letter to President Obama, asking that he consider the plight of young women of color in tandem with his administration’s focus on young men of color. Signed by scholars, ministers and activists, the letter comes as the White House announced this week that former basketball star and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson will co-chair “My Brother’s Keeper,” a $200 million public- and private-sector effort that will direct resources to black and Hispanic boys.

The signers of the letter, among them actor Danny Glover and civil rights activist James M. Lawson and leading academics, write to Obama that they were “were surprised and disappointed that your commitments express empathy to only half of our community — men and boys of color.”

We write as African American men who have supported your presidency, stood behind you when the inevitable racist challenges to your authority have emerged, and have understood that our hopes would be tempered by the political realities that you would encounter. While we continue to support your presidency, we write both out of a sense of mutual respect and personal responsibility to address what we believe to be the unfortunate missteps in the My Brothers Keeper initiative (MBK). In short, in lifting up only the challenges that face males of color, MBK — in the absence of any comparable initiative for females — forces us to ask where the complex lives of Black women and Black girls fit into the White House’s vision of racial justice?

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Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

(AP) – A state's voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America.

The 6-2 decision upheld a voter-approved change to the Michigan Constitution that forbids the state's public colleges to take race into account. That change was indeed up to the voters, the ruling said, over one justice's impassioned dissent that accused the court of simply wanting to wish away inequality.

The ruling bolsters similar voter-approved initiatives banning affirmative action in education in California and Washington state. A few other states have adopted laws or issued executive orders to bar race-conscious admissions policies.

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Chinese-Americans wooed by the GOP over anti-affirmative action in public universities

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

(San Jose Mercury News) Chinese-Americans were exhorted Sunday to redouble their opposition to the proposed California constitutional amendment that would reinstate affirmative action in public universities.

If passed by the Legislature and then by state voters, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 would jeopardize their children's chances of being admitted to state universities, opponents told more than 150 people gathered at a "Stop SCA 5" forum at the Cupertino Community Center.

"It would be a serious mistake to let the Latino caucus secure the vote of all Democrats," said Ward Connerly, author of Proposition 209, which SCA 5 would overturn. Connerly's proposition outlawed consideration of race in University of California and California State University admissions. He called SCA 5 "a violation of all democratic principles."

Frank Lee, of the conservative Pacific Justice Institute, said, "No student should be favored or degraded because of race." He vowed that the institute would sue if the initiative passed.

Proponents have said that SCA 5 would simply allow admissions officers to consider applicants' race.

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IS AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION BIASED AGAINST WOMEN, MINORITY JUDGES?

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

(Futurity.org) Women and minority judicial nominees systematically receive lower ratings from the American Bar Association than male or white candidates, new research shows.

An analysis of 1,770 district court nominations from 1960 to 2012 shows, however, that a candidate’s political ideology and whether they are a Republican or Democrat have no bearing on if the ABA gives a certification of  “well qualified,” “qualified,” or “not qualified.”

Published in the Journal of Law and Courts, the study shows that African Americans are 42 percentage points less likely to receive a high rating from the ABA than are whites trained at similarly ranked law schools, with similar legal experience, and nominated by the same president. Women, likewise, are 19 percentage points less likely to be highly rated than men with comparable educational and professional qualifications.

“It is important to have the voices of women and minorities in the federal courts,” says Maya Sen, assistant professor of political science at the University of Rochester. “We know that women and minority judges vote differently once they are on the bench.

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Court to decide if race preference bans hurt diversity

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

(USAToday) To hear Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette explain it, what could be wrong with a state constitutional amendment that "shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin?"

Just about everything, says Mark Rosenbaum of the American Civil Liberties Union and a host of civil rights groups. "While that makes a good bumper sticker … it's not the truth," Rosenbaum says. "Instead of healing the nation's wounds, it's actually opening those wounds."

Those two views will play out before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, almost precisely a year after the justices heard another major case on a subject that has divided the nation — and the high court — for decades: affirmative action.

On the docket will be the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, a 2006 constitutional amendment banning the use of racial preferences in public university admissions. It may not be a close fight. Lawyers for Schuette (pronounced Shoo-tee) are likely to convince the conservative court that, as Chief Justice John Roberts put it a few years back, "the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

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Court punts but affirmative action on the ropes

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

(USAToday) The Supreme Court, by a 7-1 vote, correctly slapped down the lower court for deferring to the University of Texas regarding the use of race in college admissions. It punted, however, on the larger question of whether that use of race is constitutional, instead instructing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to reconsider the issue under a less deferential standard of review.

That is, the lower court accepted the Supreme Court's 2003 ruling that using race as one factor, but not if race is tied to a set number of points or quotas, could be justified in the name of diversity. But it erred, the Supreme Court said, in not subjecting UT-Austin's admissions process to what lawyers call "strict scrutiny."

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A post-racial US? In era of Obama, Supreme Court may nullify civil rights policies as outdated

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

 

(StarTribune Op-Ed) Has the nation lived down its history of racism and should the law become colorblind?

Addressing two pivotal legal issues, one on affirmative action and a second on voting rights, a divided Supreme Court is poised to answer those questions.

In one case, the issue is whether race preferences in university admissions undermine equal opportunity more than they promote the benefits of racial diversity. Just this past week, justices signaled their interest in scrutinizing affirmative action very intensely, expanding their review as well to a Michigan law passed by voters that bars "preferential treatment" to students based on race. Separately in a second case, the court must decide whether race relations — in the South, particularly — have improved to the point that federal laws protecting minority voting rights are no longer warranted.

The questions are apt as the United States closes in on a demographic tipping point, when nonwhites will become a majority of the nation's population for the first time. That dramatic shift is expected to be reached within the next generation, and how the Supreme Court rules could go a long way in determining what civil rights and equality mean in an America long divided by race.

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The White Student Suing to Overthrow Affirmative Action Was Too Dumb to Get Into Her Chosen College

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

 

(Gawker.com) Life is tough for white people in America. A few hundred years of presumed superiority have left many of them psychologically unable to deal with failure, trapped in a cycle of victimhood where their own shortcomings can only be understood as evidence of persecution against them. So we have Abigail Fisher, 23 years old, and the plaintiff in Fisher v. University of Texas, which is currently being weighed by the Supreme Court.

Fisher, who is white, is suing the university because—well, because the full-time crusaders against affirmative action asked her to. But her ostensible complaint is that she applied to go to the University of Texas at Austin but didn't get in, while some students who are not white did get in, under the university's system of weighing "personal circumstances," including poverty and race, in some of its admissions. Ergo, under the logic of anti-reverse racism, some undeserving minority student took her spot.

But this week, Pro Publica published a look into the actual circumstances surrounding University of Texas admissions when Fisher applied. And that the reason Fisher didn't get in was that she wasn't qualified.

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The Leading Liberal Against Affirmative Action

Monday, March 18th, 2013

 

(Economix) My Capital Ideas column this week looks at liberals who would see some upsides if the Supreme Court made substantial changes to affirmative-action programs. The justices heard arguments in such a case in October — Fisher v. the University of Texas — and are expected to issue their decision between March 18 and late June.

Perhaps the most prominent self-described progressive with doubts about the current version of affirmative action is Richard D. Kahlenberg, of the Century Foundation. Mr. Kahlenberg argues that a race-focused version of affirmative action can be unfair, is inconsistent with many of the program’s original goals and has lost the support of the public. Today’s affirmative action, he says, helps perpetuate privilege, by helping to fill elite-college campuses with an ethnically diverse mix of affluent students.

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Martin Luther King Jr. ‘content of character’ quote inspires debate

Monday, January 21st, 2013

 

(MassLive) "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

This sentence spoken by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been quoted countless times as expressing one of America's bedrock values, its language almost sounding like a constitutional amendment on equality.

Yet today, 50 years after King shared this vision during his most famous speech, there is considerable disagreement over what it means.

The quote is used to support opposing views on politics, affirmative action and programs intended to help the disadvantaged. Just as the words of the nation's founders are parsed for modern meanings on guns and abortion, so are King's words used in debates over the proper place of race in America.

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