On February 27, 2017, the New Jersey Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee reported favorably on Senate Bill No. 677 (with amendments). The original bill, passed by the New Jersey Senate in June 2016, required racial and ethnic impact statements for any legislative measure that affects pretrial detention, sentencing, probation, or parole policies concerning adults or children. The version recently reported out of committee somewhat expanded these requirements.
Racial impact statement laws have previously been enacted in Connecticut, Iowa, and Oregon, and similar legislation has recently been introduced by lawmakers in Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, and Wisconsin. [Read More]
Kudos to Professor Sidhu for his fine article on “Racial Mirroring”—the notion that, say, police departments should weigh race in their hiring in order to have a workforce that “looks like” the surrounding community—and how it “violates the Equal Protection Clause, perpetuates harmful racial stereotypes, and produces significant legal and social costs.”
I would add only that, as dubious as such a practice is as a constitutional matter, it’s even harder to justify under the most relevant federal civil-rights statute, namely Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I’ve discussed the problems with any nonremedial justification for racial preferences under Title VII in another Federalist Society publication here (part III, starting on p. 981).
The Supreme Court heard argument today in yet another university affirmative action dispute. Few issues have generated more Supreme Court litigation than the question of when government is permitted to classify its citizens by race. This has also been an issue in the political sphere as well, with major popular initiatives in California, Michigan, and Washington. California was in the lead with Proposition 209 in 1996, but the issue is still alive in that state. Recently, the State Legislature considered putting a measure on the ballot to exempt public schools, colleges, and universities from the ground-breaking civil rights initiative. A new Engage article documents the political forces that coalesced to defeat the Legislature’s plan. Instead of experienced political partisans, the effort to stop the legislative proposition was a grassroots effort by a community that has not been politically active in the past.
Carl Cohen's book, A Conflict of Principles: The Battle Over Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan, is important for anyone who cares about the use of race and ethnicity in making university admissions decisions, the practice widely referred to as “affirmative action.” The author, a University of Michigan professor, was not only an observer but also a key participant in the long struggle against the use of racial and preferences at his school. So the book is part memoir, part history, part policy—and all excellent. Because of the part he played in this fight, Professor Cohen has insights, knowledge, and perspectives unavailable to anyone else. [Read More]
My recent blog post gave detailed information on exactly how medical schools are bullied by their accreditor—the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)—into greater racial preferences. In this post, I concentrate on law schools. [Read More]