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Last Term, the Supreme Court considered the racial preference plans used by the University of Michigan's undergraduate and law schools. (1) In its opinions upholding the law school program and striking down the undergraduate program, it resolved a fierce debate that had occupied this country for an entire generation: Are the educational benefits of a diverse student body so important that they constitute a compelling governmental interest? The Supreme Court ruled affirmatively. (2) Accordingly, the Court held that, so long as its admission's office is careful about how it does so, a university is free to discriminate on the basis of race in order to maintain racial diversity on campus. Or did it? The Court acknowledged that its holding was contingent upon one determination that it did not have occasion to consider: whether the University of Michigan was being sincere when it told the Court that the reason it discriminated on the basis of race was to obtain the educational benefits of a diverse student body. As the Court recognized, a governmental interest cannot be compelling if it is not sincere. (3) Because the disappointed applicants who had sued the University had not challenged the University's sincerity in this regard. the Court "presumed" that the University was acting in "good faith." (4) The Court noted, however, that this would not have been the case if there had been "a showing to the contrary." (5)

Professioneel en technisch
22 september
Harvard Society for Law and Public Policy, Inc.

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