Law School Discussion

Affirmative Action is getting out of hand

Spallenzani

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Re: Affirmative Action is getting out of hand
« Reply #100 on: November 11, 2004, 11:54:47 AM »
The comments on this thread about AA have been interesting but I think we should all withold any conclusive remarks about racial preferences because the topic is entirely too complex.

That is nonsense. I've been studying this issue for years, and followed the recent Supreme Court cases very closely, while they were still in appeals court. Speak for yourself if you find the topic too complex.

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We as citizens have to accept the consequences of this gross inequality. Remember, AA would not be necessary, if our ethnocentric English fathers had not decided to enslave a group of people because they were to lazy to pick their own cotton and tobacco 

Again, this is absurd. People cannot be held morally responsible for the actions of their ancestors. And since the descendents of slave owners are a tiny minority, even if we could hold people morally responsible for the actions of their ancestors, why should everyone else -- especially people whose families came to this country recently -- be held responsible for something that neither they nor their ancestors had anything at all to do with?

And again, no one has addressed a fundamental question:  why should the African American son of a successful neurosurgeon get preference over the white son of poor coal miner? Why use race as a proxy if our desired metric for admissions is adversity?

For those unfamiliar with the law, you should know that, according to the Supreme Court in Bakke and reaffirmed in the more recent Michigan cases Grutter and Gratz, Affirmative Action in the university admissions process can only be justified on the grounds of expanding viewpoint diversity, and not on the grounds of ameliorating the effects of past discrimination, nor on the grounds of making underrepresented groups better represented in proportion to the makeup of the general population.

Interestingly, viewpoint diversity has a number of illogical holes of its own. Just as skin color is no good proxy for adversity, skin color is an even worse proxy for viewpoints. And if viewpoint diversity is the goal, why give preferences to only racial minorities? Surely religious and political minorities have more consistent viewpoints as a group than racial minorities. Their very essence is their viewpoint; that is how the group is defined.

AMB22

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Re: Affirmative Action is getting out of hand
« Reply #101 on: November 11, 2004, 11:55:24 AM »
Possibly the only way you could level the playing field was if there was an excellent prepcourse (maybe LSAc run?) that was completely free to everyone and all of the best materials and prep tests were free. But I don't know who would pay for that kind of program or if it would be able to stay ahead of rival prep programs and materials.

I also agree that although many people go up familiarizing themselves with the test, everyone can't study and prepare themselves to a 180. I think most people plateau rather quickly because of their natural ability.

AMB22

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Re: Affirmative Action is getting out of hand
« Reply #102 on: November 11, 2004, 11:59:24 AM »
By making the LSAT preparation proof, I just mean, make the test impossible to study for. Don't release previous test administrations. Everyone just sits down at the testing site, with a pencil in hand. I think then, only will individuals really use their innate intelligence.

That would be even worse.  Companies like Kaplan would hire people to go in take the tests and remember a few questions each. It wouldn't be that hard for such companies to quickly get a real good idea of the type of questions that are on the test. They would still be able to make prep programs and charge money for them. People then who couldn't afford such programs wouldn't even be able to get prep tests from LSAC and would be at even a greater disadvantage then those who could afford the programs.

Spallenzani

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Re: Affirmative Action is getting out of hand
« Reply #103 on: November 11, 2004, 12:10:59 PM »
I believe the score to get in to MENSA for the LSAT is some ridiculous 163. Now, Mensa can have their policies but I just disagree. Scoring a 163 and then claiming membership to MENSA in my opinion is illegitimate. Consider the following conversation between mensa members:
1: Hey buddy, good to see your in MENSA. how did you qualify.
2: I got a 166 on my LSAT
1. Oh. I scored a legitimate 200 the MENSA IQ and have a photograhic memory
2. Well, I can do logic games and read.
1. That's nice.

Mensa has more liberal acceptance policies than other "intelligence clubs." If I recall correctly, their cut-off point is top 2%. While a 163 is only 90% percentile, one must remember that this is 90% percentile of all people who take the LSAT, and not 90% of the population as a whole. If the average person who takes the LSAT is smarter than the average person in general, it should not be surprising that a person in the 90% percentile of LSAT takers is also in the 98% percentile of general population intelligence.

If you want a more selective club, those exist as well.

Spallenzani

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Re: Affirmative Action is getting out of hand
« Reply #104 on: November 11, 2004, 12:16:03 PM »
By making the LSAT preparation proof, I just mean, make the test impossible to study for. Don't release previous test administrations. Everyone just sits down at the testing site, with a pencil in hand. I think then, only will individuals really use their innate intelligence. Additionally, if the test is a valid predictor of law school success, u should still see the same people who do well on the LSAT, do well in law school. Do people not think this is fair?

It would be fair if law school was nothing more than a high intelligence society. Sadly, it isn't. Law school is also a school. And in school people take tests. And to do well on tests, people study. Hence, studying is an integral part of success in law school. So it makes sense that entry to law school might partly test an applicant's ability to study.

A_guy

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Re: Affirmative Action is getting out of hand
« Reply #105 on: November 11, 2004, 12:29:30 PM »
The comments on this thread about AA have been interesting but I think we should all withold any conclusive remarks about racial preferences because the topic is entirely too complex.

That is nonsense. I've been studying this issue for years, and followed the recent Supreme Court cases very closely, while they were still in appeals court. Speak for yourself if you find the topic too complex.

Quote
We as citizens have to accept the consequences of this gross inequality. Remember, AA would not be necessary, if our ethnocentric English fathers had not decided to enslave a group of people because they were to lazy to pick their own cotton and tobacco 

Again, this is absurd. People cannot be held morally responsible for the actions of their ancestors. And since the descendents of slave owners are a tiny minority, even if we could hold people morally responsible for the actions of their ancestors, why should everyone else -- especially people whose families came to this country recently -- be held responsible for something that neither they nor their ancestors had anything at all to do with?

And again, no one has addressed a fundamental question:  why should the African American son of a successful neurosurgeon get preference over the white son of poor coal miner? Why use race as a proxy if our desired metric for admissions is adversity?

For those unfamiliar with the law, you should know that, according to the Supreme Court in Bakke and reaffirmed in the more recent Michigan cases Grutter and Gratz, Affirmative Action in the university admissions process can only be justified on the grounds of expanding viewpoint diversity, and not on the grounds of ameliorating the effects of past discrimination, nor on the grounds of making underrepresented groups better represented in proportion to the makeup of the general population.

Interestingly, viewpoint diversity has a number of illogical holes of its own. Just as skin color is no good proxy for adversity, skin color is an even worse proxy for viewpoints. And if viewpoint diversity is the goal, why give preferences to only racial minorities? Surely religious and political minorities have more consistent viewpoints as a group than racial minorities. Their very essence is their viewpoint; that is how the group is defined.

i too have studied AA and u have to acknowledge that fact that AA was a result of the civil rights movement.  u say not to base thing on race, but the entire system is based on that.  from slavery, to jim crow, to racial profiling.  teh difference is those things did not have benefits for the groups being judged by thier race.


superiorlobe

Re: Affirmative Action is getting out of hand
« Reply #106 on: November 11, 2004, 12:34:39 PM »
The basic problem is that blacks from the wealthiest families have mean SAT scores that are below the mean SAT scores from whites who are below the poverty line.

This is why AA has to be based on skin color and cannot be based on things like socioeconomic position.

Spallenzani

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Re: Affirmative Action is getting out of hand
« Reply #107 on: November 11, 2004, 12:50:49 PM »
i too have studied AA and u have to acknowledge that fact that AA was a result of the civil rights movement.  u say not to base thing on race, but the entire system is based on that.  from slavery, to jim crow, to racial profiling.  teh difference is those things did not have benefits for the groups being judged by thier race.

If you studied the legal history of Affirmative Action, you should know that this rationale has already been rejected by the courts. Justice Powell, writing for the majority opinion of the Supreme Court in Bakke held,

"[The Court]has never approved a classification that aids persons perceived as members of relatively victimized groups at the expense of other innocent individuals in the absence of judicial, legislative, or administrative findings of constitutional or statutory violations." (438 U.S. 265, at 308.)

Further,

"[The Medical School of the University of California at Davis] does not purport to have made, and is in no position to make, such findings. Its broad mission is education, not the formulation of any legislative policy or the adjudication of particular claims of illegality. . . . Isolated segments of our vast governmental structures are not competent to make those decisions, at least in the absence of legislative mandates and legislatively determined criteria."
(438 U.S. 265, at 310. Here Powell suggests that the threshold for justified preferences under the Constitution is exactly the same as the one for their use under Title VII: preferences may be used by an institution to prevent its own present and future discrimination.)

This is the current settled doctrine of the Court, and was reiterated in Grutter.

Spallenzani

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Re: Affirmative Action is getting out of hand
« Reply #108 on: November 11, 2004, 12:54:34 PM »
The basic problem is that blacks from the wealthiest families have mean SAT scores that are below the mean SAT scores from whites who are below the poverty line.

This is why AA has to be based on skin color and cannot be based on things like socioeconomic position.

Assuming these numbers are correct (and I have no idea if they are or not), how does that follow? Wealthy black parents, who have the option of sending their children to the very best private schools, hiring expensive personal tutors, taking as many LSAT-prep courses as possible - and all of this in comparison to poor white parents, who have no similar options and take what they can get, yet somehow, the child of the wealthy black parents deserves preferences over the child of the poor white parents? How could anyone justify this insanity?

AMB22

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Re: Affirmative Action is getting out of hand
« Reply #109 on: November 11, 2004, 12:58:11 PM »
Thats my problem with affirmative action, you get the advantages as long as you have met the threshold of being a URM regardless of if you haven't sufferred anything, but demonstrated adversity for whites, although schools certainly take it into account in admissions, doesn't seem to count for nearly as much.


The basic problem is that blacks from the wealthiest families have mean SAT scores that are below the mean SAT scores from whites who are below the poverty line.

This is why AA has to be based on skin color and cannot be based on things like socioeconomic position.

Assuming these numbers are correct (and I have no idea if they are or not), how does that follow? Wealthy black parents, who have the option of sending their children to the very best private schools, hiring expensive personal tutors, taking as many LSAT-prep courses as possible - and all of this in comparison to poor white parents, who have no similar options and take what they can get, yet somehow, the child of the wealthy black parents deserves preferences over the child of the poor white parents? How could anyone justify this insanity?