Not Quite Gone Yet

Juan Williams thinks affirmative action is kaput. He writes:

After the Ricci ruling, President Obama said that any hiring or school admissions practices based solely on race are unconstitutional, and he condemned the use of quotas. In an interview with the Associated Press, the nation’s first black president stressed that the Supreme Court did not completely “close the door” on affirmative action, if properly structured and in certain circumstances, but he conceded that the court had moved “the ball” away from such efforts. Obama also asserted that affirmative action “hasn’t been as potent a force for racial progress as advocates would claim,” and as consolation, he offered that the best form of affirmative action is a good education for all Americans.

Ah, but if it only were so! Unfortunately, Obama has nominated a passionate defender of racial politics to the Supreme Court. Racial preferences, buried under layers of obtuse rhetoric, are alive and well at elite colleges and universities. Public contracting is rife with racial preferences. Private employers have been cajoled into employing racial preferences under the guise of “diversity.”

A more accurate statement would be that the rationale for affirmative action has disintegrated over time, as has the public’s support for racial preferences and quotas. But there is a virtual industry populated by groups like Sonia Sotomayor’s PRLDEF and the race bully of New Haven, who cajoled the city into dropping the results of its fire fighters’ promotional tests. There are legions of university admissions officers devoted to the cause of “diversity.”

So it will, unfortunately, be some time before affirmative action is buried. Nevertheless, I would agree, happily so, that if the most liberal candidate ever elected to the White House can’t make a full-throated defense of affirmative action, then its days are numbered.