Allow Affirmative Action

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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"Forty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at a law school with only two black students. King argued that lawyers can play major roles in solving America's race problem" (Syverud, 1). Unfortunately, King was right. Lawyers do play a major role in America's race problem, but the problem is far from solved. Judge Bernard A. Friedman's recent ruling against the University of Michigan's law school admissions policies eradicates affirmative action, and puts minority enrollment at risk of decreasing. Diversity will fall through the cracks, and affirmative action may not even be to blame for the lost opportunities to qualified white applicants. More admissions are reserved for relatives of alumni than minorities. Attacking affirmative action will not solve the problem; it only creates greater division among students.

Affirmative action originates from the Bakke case in 1976. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell ruled that "race could be considered a "˜plus' in admissions, but could not be used as a hard-and-fast quota."

A 1998 study by former Harvard professor Derek Bok shows the positive effects of the Bakke decision. Out of seven hundred students admitted due to affirmative action in 1976, "About 130 became doctors or lawyers, 125 business executives and 300 community leaders" (importance). Now, Federal Judge Bernard A. Friedman rules in opposition to Powell, saying that the admission policies employed by U of M violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Affirmative, 1). Before affirmative action, the law school at the University of Michigan consisted of almost all white students. If affirmative action is abolished now, the progression of diversity could stop, or even regress. ("Importance," 2001).

Friedman's ruling not only contrasts with the Bakke ruling, it also undermines the December ruling made by his colleague, Patrick Duggan.

Duggan supported affirmative action at the undergraduate college at U...