Enlightened people understand the world is far from colorblind. They can also understand and appreciate that there are different ways to achieve that noble goal.
In a healthy democracy, one place to resolve such matters is through public debate — often followed by a trip to the ballot box.
Last Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court provided proper guidance in that regard.
In a 6-2 decision, the court recognized voters have the right to decide whether to allow or to mandate schools to grant special consideration to minority groups in the admission process.
A majority of justices didn’t take a position either way on whether such favoritism was beneficial or hurtful. Instead, it ruled states should have the freedom to make this call.
It’s the proper decision.
The Supreme Court’s action stems from a case in Michigan. Eight years ago, 58 percent of the voters there approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting state universities and colleges from giving applicants an edge because of their race or gender. Seven states have similar bans. However, the other 42 states have varying degrees of racial preferences in their college admission practices.
The 2006 amendment didn’t sit well with those who believed modern-day favoritism was needed to erase past inequities. So they sued.
A federal court upheld the amendment, but then an appellate court struck it down. Then the case came to the Supreme Court, which reversed the appellate court’s decision.
Institutions should be committed to diversity.
It should be achieved through constitutional means, as the court recognized.