MPAC Supports Supreme Court Affirmative Action Ruling

June 26, 2003

Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) commends the Supreme Court's decision to uphold affirmative action in University admissions in the United States.

While the court upheld the University of Michigan law school's policy of including race as one of the criteria to be taken into account when evaluating applicants for admission, it struck down the University of Michigan's method for undergraduate admissions - assigning a numerical point value to applicants from minority backgrounds. The split ruling indicates that race can be one of many factors considered for university admissions but assigning quotas or numerical value to race was reaffirmed as unconstitutional.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote, "Access to legal education (and thus the legal profession) must be inclusive of talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity, so that all members of our heterogeneous society may participate in the educational institutions that provide the training and education necessary to succeed in America."

MPAC supports the idea that America's elite should be drawn from Americans of all racial and ethnic background to assure that all segments of society are involved in governance.

Interestingly, O'Connor also wrote, "It has been 25 years since Justice Powell first approved the use of race to further an interest in student body diversity in the context of public higher education. Since that time the number of minority applicants with high grades and test scores has indeed increased. We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.''

O'Connor appears to be leaving the door open to abolish affirmative action in as soon as 25 years. MPAC looks forward to the day when a color-blind approach to university admissions is possible but is concerned about rigid time limits. Only when institutional racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination are essentially abolished should we consider ending programs that address these problems.



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