"A blinkered view of race in America won out in the Supreme Court on Tuesday when six justices agreed, for various reasons, to allow Michigan voters to ban race-conscious admissions policies in higher education ... " So starts the New York Times's righteous take-down of today's Supreme Court ruling in Schuette v. BAMN, in which the Justices upheld a Michigan law banning the consideration of race in admissions.
The plurality's justification—six Justices in total agreed with the ruling, but differed in their reasons for doing so—for reversing the lower-court decision? As long as the voters want it, they get it.
But the real news has been Justice Sonia Sotomayor's dissent, which the New York Times's Adam Liptak called "the most passionate and most significant of her career." It is the first time Sotomayor—whose nomination conservatives bitterly opposed—has spoken up about race. "In my colleagues' view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination," Sotomayor wrote. "This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable."
The Daily Beast's Ron Christie went a step further, writing that "Sotomayor's dissent is one for the casebooks and the ages."
Conesrvatives are already calling it Orwellian.
At Think Progress, Ian Millhiser highlights the disastrous effect the law has had on diversity at state schools. At the Univesity of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus, black enrollment plummeted 30 percent after the law was passed in 2006; just 14 black students enrolled in 2008.
That's because the school stopped admitting unqualified people, says National Review's John Fund says
But this is only the Roberts' Court latest attack on racial equality. As Adam Serwer at MSNBC points out, under his tenure the Court has crippled the Voting Rights Act, curbed the grounds under which Americans can sue for racial discrimination, and allowed states to deny health insurance to millions of low-income Americans, many of whom are minorities.
Will this faux "colorblindness" spread? Within hours of the ruling, a Wisconsin state legislator had proposed a similar ban on considering race in admissions.
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