Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

University Affirmative Action Policy Half-Baked?

Fox News reports that students at UC Berkeley held a bake sale designed to highlight the disparities in treatment wrought by affirmative action admission systems. Here’s how the bake sale worked:

For the same chocolate chip cookie, whites were being charged $1.50, Asians $1.25, Latinos (Hispanics not from Mexico) $1.00, Chicanos (Hispanics from Mexico) 75 cents, American Indians 50 cents, and blacks 25 cents.

I have heard that similar bake sales have occurred at UCLA and the University of Michigan. One of the students was asked why legacies weren’t charged less for cookies. To put that issue to rest, the different treatment for legacies, while perhaps undesirable as a matter of policy, is not generally a constitutional question. The Constitution prohibits unequal protection of the laws on the basis of race, but does not cover distinctions based on other characteristics, such as legacy status, musical ability, or the ability to play football. To put it simply, we did not fight a civil war to end the practice of the government discriminating against individuals who are not legacies.

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