Over the years, opponents of affirmative action have expressed several reservations about the alleged benefits of diversity. First, if diversity is a compelling governmental interest, why not diversity by measures other than race — e.g., religion, nationality, socio‐economic status, geography, and (perhaps most important) viewpoint. (According to a recent poll, Harvard’s class of 2025 is 72.4% liberal and 8.6% conservative. I suspect that the faculty has similar leanings.)
Second, why do some universities that tout diversity also allow racially segregated dorms and graduation ceremonies?
Third, how would a Pedro Goldberg — Hispanic mom, Jewish dad — measure on the diversity scale? Would Harvard ensure that he gets in, or that he’s kept out?
Fourth, not only Blacks have experienced discrimination. How do we select which groups are to receive preferential treatment?
Fifth, if diversity trumps academic criteria, will colleges be prodded either to lower academic standards or fail affirmative action admittees who may be less qualified?
Sixth, have diversity goals increased minority enrollments, or have they simply re‐directed some minority students to elite universities at the expense of other universities which those students might otherwise have attended?
And finally, “diversity” has never been contextually defined. What, precisely, are its educational benefits? How will we know when the goals have been reached? (In her 2003 Grutter opinion, Justice O’Connor speculated that 25 years might be sufficient. But diversity proponents haven’t accepted that time frame, even as college admissions approach for classes that will graduate in 2028.)
Eight states — Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington — currently ban public universities from considering the race of their applicants. Before mid‐2023, the U.S. Supreme Court will probably extend a comparable ban to 50 states and Washington, D.C.