If both of these girls grow up exactly the same way and have exactly the same grades and LSAT than one will have a huge advantage over the other in terms of UG/Grad admissions and job prospects
I don't like discussing AA that much on the forums because it usually starts a flame and people aren't going to be persuaded from what they initially believe... but just had to post this after I stumbled on the article
I'll answer in a non-flaming way.
It's important to keep in mind that affirmative action is predicated on the idea that black and white students don't
grow up in exactly the same way. When you're growing up white, there are some things you just won't have to deal with. For example, your parents probably didn't have to tell you how to interact with the police so as to avoid getting shot. You don't have to worry about being followed around in stores to make sure you won't steal anything. You don't have to worry about every mistake or misjudgment you make reflecting on your race as a whole. I think that Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy is an excellent example of this. If she were black and had a pregnant teenage daughter, people would use it as an example of the how irresponsible black people are, but because she's white, it's off limits as a topic of discussion. There are all sorts of subtle privileges that come with growing up white and they add up to a lot in the end. The fact is that most black people in this country are inevitably going to face challenges and obstacles growing up - challenges that wouldn't even occur to white people to consider. And this even goes for blacks and whites of the same social class. I don't see it as at all unreasonable that law schools be cognizant of this when they make their admissions decisions.
And that's related to the second rationale for affirmative action, which has less to do with merit than it does with the educational experience during law school. My constitutional law and criminal procedure classes would have been less interesting had there been no URMs in them because URMs often grow up having very different experiences with the police and criminal justice system than do white students. They often have meaningful insights on cases concerning race in constitutional law classes that white students are less likely to have.
As an Asian American, I have grown up with a lot of advantages and privileges. More people worked harder to make sure I succeeded in school because that's what was expected of me. People assume I'm intelligent and hard working. I'm more socially accepted by white people than I would be if I were black, which in turn gives me more access to valuable networking opportunities than I would have if I were black. That's not to say that I didn't work hard, but it did mean that my hard work was also more likely to be noticed. I'm willing to accept that this translated to my having to work a little harder to get into good schools than a black or Latino student.
That's not to say that there aren't reasonable arguments in opposition to affirmative action. For example, you could argue that its costs with regard to race relations outweigh the benefits to URMs. You could argue that only rich, well-connected URMs actually benefit from it in practice. You could argue that there are bad career consequences for URMs who get into a school for which they're unqualified. And there are definitely plenty of blacks and Latinos out there who, individually, don't merit affirmative action treatment as much as some individual poor whites. But the argument that affirmative action unfairly disadvantages white students who are equally situated with black students has little practical application because there are so few who are equally situated.