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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Thursday, January 16, 2003
8:13 AM

Michigan affirmative action update... Well, most of this sounds good anyway:

President Bush yesterday delivered a sharp blow to the use of racial preferences in higher education, declaring that two affirmative action methods used to make it easier for minority students to enter one of the nation's leading public universities are "divisive, unfair and impossible to square with the Constitution."...

An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said later that the administration's brief will not explicitly address whether diversity on campuses is such a "compelling government interest" that it justifies any admissions policies that rely on racial preferences. Nor will it address the 1978 University of California v. Bakke case, the last major test of affirmative action in academia, in which a divided court set current precedent allowing race to be taken into account in university admissions.


But the official made clear the administration's belief that race should not be directly considered in admissions. Instead, the official said, universities should consider "race-neutral" factors, such as socioeconomic background and geography, that could have the effect of benefiting racial minorities.

By the way, what would be a good way to keep the Lott debacle alive? Perhaps mentioning it when the Administration talks about race, for ever and ever.

The racial sensitivities inherent in the issue come at a particularly awkward time for the Republican Party, just a month after Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) was deposed as Senate majority leader because of remarks that appeared to endorse a segregationist presidential candidacy a half-century ago.

I can't really object to it, except it's the kind of context that is not repeatedly provided for, say, the Post's Augusta coverage.

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