O’Connor on the possible end of Affirmative Action

Sandra Day O’Connor, the retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and author of the majority opinion in a landmark 2003 decision upholding the legality of race-conscious college admissions, acknowledged in a speech today that she is not confident the court had preserved affirmative action in higher education for much longer.

Speaking at Washington’s National Press Club at a symposium on diversity at colleges, Justice O’Connor said, “The future of affirmative action in higher education today is certainly muddy.” As the basis for her observation, she cited Michigan voters’ adoption last fall of an amendment to that state’s Constitution banning affirmative-action preferences, as well as the passage of similar measures in California in 1996 and Washington State in 1998, and current efforts to place preference bans on several states’ ballots in 2008.. . .

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