Law School Discussion

[Some] minorities [agree]....Class based AA.

Re: The smart minorities get it....Class based AA.
« Reply #80 on: September 10, 2007, 05:31:44 PM »

If you don't think the legacy system doesn't have a discriminatory effect, then I don't know what to tell you? Or maybe you only think it is discrimination if one can prove discriminatory intent. In that case, you belong on the 4th Circuit and hey, you probably got your appointment through the good ole boy system...but that's not discrimination either is it?

Last time I checked "disparate impact" doesn't constitute racial discrimination.  Unless you believe that the athletic standards of professional sports constitute a form of racial discrimination.  After all, there's plenty of disparate impact there as well.

Discrimination is in fact about intent, not affects.  The fact asians and jews do better on the SAT doesn't mean it's a form of racial discrimination. 

Re: The smart minorities get it....Class based AA.
« Reply #81 on: September 10, 2007, 05:33:35 PM »
If you can't really respond to someone else's post, you have two options.  You can 1) admit you don't have a response, or 2) not respond at all.

The latter will save you energy. 



Thanks for reminding me to respond to this thread -- I've been busy lately.   :)

Re: The smart minorities get it....Class based AA.
« Reply #82 on: September 10, 2007, 05:34:22 PM »
If you can't really respond to someone else's post, you have two options.  You can 1) admit you don't have a response, or 2) not respond at all.

The latter will save you energy. 




Re: The smart minorities get it....Class based AA.
« Reply #83 on: September 10, 2007, 05:35:36 PM »
This thread was making some progress before the petty bickering took over. Hopefully we can return to that. I usually don't get into these AA debates because people approach with closed ears but I saw a few legitimately open minded questions and propositions advanced here that I wanted to weigh in on.

First of all, as an aside, "The smart minorities get it..." is just a tad bit insulting, and factually incorrect to boot. Support for the proposition underlying this disrespectful statement could more easily be garnered by simply rewording the title of this thread to reflect that some minorities agree with Class Based AA as opposed to Race Based AA - but to say that only the smart minorities are in agreement with class based AA is ridiculous.  I would urge blondngreen to rename the title of this thread if he/she is serious about encouraging an intellectual discourse about the topic.  A simple "Class Based AA" would suffice.  But moving on...

It's an assertion, or a statement of opinion.  Kind of like "AA is necessary."  We can debate the truth of both statements, but I personally agree with the idea (though I would change "smart" to "thoughtful.")

I agree with the legitimacy of the class based AA.  Rich kids (white or black) certainly don't need any more help getting into professional schools, and many legacies who fall into the upper middle to upper class will get admitted into schools that they didn't necessarily deserve with the assistance of their own form of affirmative action: by virtue of their legacy status. (although nobody seems to be pissed off about this for some strange reason)  But at the end of the day, if you were to take a pool of America and ask everybody do you think school admissions should be based on race or based on income, most people (both black and white) will say based on income.

Excellent post, although signficant legacy preference in law school appears extremely rare.  To the rare extent this occurs, I think it's considered less offensive because it's not a form of racial discrimination.

Somebody asked a good question: what argument remains for the race based AA once we accept the legitimacy of class based AA?  Unfortunately there is one glaring argument that remains even for those of us who agree and support Class Based AA, which ties into what Opera Attorney pointed out - blacks, latinos, and other minorities are still, in 2007, discriminated against in employment and the professional setting

How so?  We need more concrete evidence of this, especially since the evidence appears to indicate that minorities are actually favored in hiring these days.

and what's worse is that, despite 40 years worth of AA, minorities still exist only in very very very small numbers in the legal profession.  White males still continue to dominate the working worlds of biglaw and big-business long after we have all left the 3 or 4 year academic setting of law school, med school, etc.

Now, this is indisputably true.  However, a differential in results doesn't necessarily mean the cause is discrimination.  For example, jews and asians have historically faced discrimination, but they are OVERrepresented in various professional fields.  Blacks are also overrepresented in sports and music -- again not necessarily the result of discrimination. 

In other words, when attempting to remedy past wrongs and level the playing fields with an AA program, too many of us who support class based AA focus on getting into school and stop there - as if that's the entire purpose of class based AA.  The issue being addressed by Class Based AA doesn't end by merely getting into law school, folks.

The problem, to me, is that this "issue" appears primarily cultural, not societal.  Jews predominate in law because of their cultural background and aspirations.  Hispanics are underrepresented because of a different cultural background.  The idea that we should favor certain cultures simply because they prepare their members less well seems questionable -- especially since this doesn't really motivate the culture to adapt and change.

Even though I agree with the legitimacy of Class Based AA, I am less certain that we, as a nation, are in a position even in 2007 where we can completely swap out one for the other.  I would certainly like for us to be, but the fact of the matter is that we are not.  I am hopeful that we can be there someday.  Former Justice O'Connor estimated that day at being 25 years in the future.  Who knows.  But one thing is for certain, we're not there yet.  Replacing Race Based with Class Based now is premature.  Even Obama (one of the alleged "smart minorities" according to the blondngreen) is very clear on this topic when asked about the state of race in America - he says that he believes that America is ready to get past it's race problem, which is to say that it still has a problem that it needs to get past.

Obama is certainly entitled to his opinion.  However, the real question, again, is why certain minorities struggle once educational opportunity it controlled for.  To me, again, the primary problem is cultural, and people like Obama himself are clear examples of the fact that there is no nebulous, impervious force preventing minorities from achieving academically -- it ultimately comes down to the individual, and, perhaps, his family outlook.  It is therefore unclear to me that creating different standards for minorities is the answer to this question. 

I stopped reading at the bolded.

I know the feeling.  Let's hope Lindbergh devotes more energy to his law classes.   LOL :).

If you get tired after a few paragraphs of reading, you're going to need a lot more energy for your law classes.   ::)

Although I have  little patience for heavily biased pontification on LSD, I'd endure BS--even from a prof like Richard Sanders--for law school.

Just because Sanders is a liberal doesn't mean his statements are BS.   :-*  Ywia. 

Re: The smart minorities get it....Class based AA.
« Reply #84 on: September 10, 2007, 05:43:37 PM »
In his response, Obama didn't take the question to a higher level of abstraction and talk generally about the importance of racial diversity; he stuck with the concrete facts. "I think that my daughters should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged..." Then, he went further, "I think that we should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed."

I agree with Obama, we need AA based on circumstance, not race.
Look at all of you ganging up on Lindbergh.  You've nothing substantative to add, you just want to take shots at someone who makes a better case. Keep leaving your pathetic, sarcastic little comments, it's all you have to offer.   Come on, sting me with a witty retort.   

Where would most of you be without AA?   

Most of us have actively engaged Lindbergh in this AA dialogue. We've discussed opposing viewpoints, cited relevant articles, etc.  Lindbergh hasn't introduced anything new; we've heard it all before. 

And yet, you (collectively) appear unable to explain why urms deserve significant extra consideration after educational opportunity is accounted for.

While I agree with some of his peripheral points, I find his core arguments unacceptable due to his refusal to recognize and acknowledge the TRUE nature of race relations in American society and its negative effects on underrepresented minorities within higher education, particularly within law school and the legal profession. 

In other words, because I disagree with you about the "true nature" of race relations in american society, and how that supposedly impacts urms in higher education, I'm automatically wrong?  Fascinating.

What about the fact that AA clearly worsens the state of race relations in this country?

At this point, we can agree to disagree although you should note that the Supreme Court still supports race-based AA in the law school admissions process.

Yes.  The Supreme Court also supported slavery (Dred Scott) and segregation (Plessy).  How is that relevant to the ultimately rightness or wrongness of AA as currently practiced?

(O'Connor is not a daft windbag!) 


Your ending question does not merit a response from me.

Is potential bias in this debate relevant?  Some may say so.

And, for the record, Obama did not state (explicitly or otherwise) that race-based AA should be replaced by class-based AA.

He certainly seemed to indicate this.  He doesn't think his kid should get preferences, and he thinks poor whites should. 

Re: The smart minorities get it....Class based AA.
« Reply #85 on: September 10, 2007, 05:44:52 PM »
If you can't really respond to someone else's post, you have two options.  You can 1) admit you don't have a response, or 2) not respond at all.

The latter will save you energy. 




I think the linked post is one of the top 3 posts ever on LSD.

Is that a substantive response??

Well, you're certainly an objective evaluator, right?

I haven't read it yet, so I don't know.  I do hope so -- it would be about time.  :(

Re: The smart minorities get it....Class based AA.
« Reply #86 on: September 10, 2007, 06:03:51 PM »
Did you know that the way you reply to people is supremely annoying?

Lighten up, Francis.

I actually thought B. Sands response was pretty thoughtful.  Is there a reason you considered it annoying?

Actually, Dashrashi was referring to the way that you respond to people's posts when you reply in separate pieces to each point but I think you two addressed that already.

Yeah, I'm not sure why she wasn't more clear.   :(

As far as legacy AA is concerned, far more students are admitted into schools where they are less qualified than the median applicants in schools that use Legacy Based AA than there are minorities admitted in schools that use Race Based AA - even if we only consider the undergrad institutions which, in turn, directly feed the law school institutions. 

Well, I agree that legacy admissions is also highly questionable.  But we're talking specifically about law school admissions here, and I don't believe that undergraduate admissions significantly impacts LS admissions.  Grades and LSAT are what ultimately matter in law school, where there are relatively few legacy preferences.  (If you get into college with subpar numbers, you'll likely end up with a low GPA, and will actually be disadvantaged in the law school admissions process.)

This is part of the reason why the AA debate, in and of itself, is a controversial yet puzzling debate to begin with from the minority perspective because when you consider how very few black admits there are in law school admissions (approx 5-6% of all admits) compared to the overall number of law school admits (over 43,000 each year) you begin to ask yourself, why is such strict scrutiny placed on that 5-6%??  Does 5-6% really warrant such passionate cries of injustice and heated debates? 

The problem with AA, of course, is that it is a form of racial discrimination.  No one can seriously dispute this (the only question is whether it is justified), and such discrimination will predictably inflame passions more than legacy or class-based preferences.

You could argue that segregation itself only impacted a relatively small minority of the country.  Does a small minority really warrant such passionate cries of injustice and heated debate?  Perhaps.

If not, then we're left with the only reasonable explanation - which is that the small % of AA admits is not the issue (because clearly it is a de minimis amount), but rather, the issue is that a policy exists that might potentially allow a student to gain admissions at a school where that student could be less qualified than his/her peers.  Pursuant to this rationale, even a single student who is admitted to a school where they are less qualified than their peers would be unacceptable and in direct violation of this notion of merit only

So according to this rule of merit, students can only get into schools in which they are qualified to enter based upon their merit alone.  OK.  Sounds reasonable.  But when we apply that rule to the facts of our society, we can easily see that there are many students in violation of this merit rule, not just blacks or other minority groups.  Namely, some of the largest violators of this rule are legacies and the children of donors:

    * At Notre Dame, more than twenty percent of the entering class are "legacies" - children of alumni.
    * Legacy admits often have SAT scores 100 points below the school's median.  When the number of legacy admits is large, the average applicant may need an SAT score 50 points higher than the published-but-inaccurate median.   
    * Harvard University accepts 1/3 of alumni children that apply, nearly four times its overall admission rate.  Legacies constitute 13% of the undergraduate student body.   

- The Price of Admission:  How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges -- and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates, by Daniel Golden, Crown Publishers, (Random House), New York 2006.

Thus, begging the question, why are we placing so much focus on race based AA, which only effects a very minute number of applicants at any given school, while simultaneously placing no focus on legacy or donor based AA, which effects significantly more applicants?  It's just confusing to me why we're up in arms about the 7 or 8 black law students who may have been admitted under race based AA at any given law school, but we couldn't care less about the 30 legacies/donors who were admitted with the same or lesser stats.


See above.  People are simply more troubled by racial discrimiation than they are by legacy / class-based / donor preferences, which tend to strenghen the school in certain ways (by making scholarships possible, etc.)

And again, I don't have a problem with eliminating legacy preferences, but these don't really exist much at the law school level.  We also need to examine how significant those preferences really are -- at Michigan, a legacy preference was worth up to 3-5 points, I believe, while being a minority was worth 20 points, regardless of economic circumstances.  I would suspect that in the vast majority of cases, legacy preferences were simply a small tipping point among otherwise qualified applicants.

If we're going to apply this rule, we have to apply it equally to all students, lest we admit that our only concern with regards to who violates this rule turns on the race of the violator.

Well, again, the concern is that this particular preferences is per se a form of racial discrimination, which at least technically violates Equal Protection, unless you buy into the new version of "separate but equal" in terms of admissions standards.  (And urms, of course, are also eligible for legacy preferences.) 

However, I have no problem eliminating legacy admissions if that's what it takes to create more racial justice in admissions generally. 

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Re: The smart minorities get it....Class based AA.
« Reply #87 on: September 10, 2007, 06:09:19 PM »
anyone reading your posts automatically becomes dumber for having read them, Lindbergh. Just terrible.

In that case, I can certainly understand why you'd prefer to avoid them.  You clearly have no IQ points to spare.   ;)


YLS c/o 2009

Re: The smart minorities get it....Class based AA.
« Reply #88 on: September 10, 2007, 06:11:51 PM »
You know for a Kappa you are not so bad.

I was actually going to address what you(burning sands) brought up in another thread, but no big deal.

I find it puzzling the energy devoted to race based AA. Take this into consideration. Of the top 14 law schools, better yet make it top 20, URM make up on average 10-15%. Blacks specifically make up on avg 5-9% and Hispanics typically make up half that. All these schools publish their median LSAT and GPA ranges 25-75%. Lets assume each and every URM is in under the 25% threshold statistically in terms of LSAT and GPA. This still leaves at least 10% of the student body admitted with numbers below the median. The question I raise to those who hold a position opposing AA is who makes up this magical 10%.

Hint: It sure as hell isn't Asians.

The situation above relies on the ridiculous assumption that no URM is qualified, yet 10% of the student body has numbers below the median. Consider that. I don't think it would be far-fetched to assume this 10% might come from very priveledged and well connect backgrounds, but what do I know.

Please resume contemplating your navel

As noted above, most people, for some reason, find racial discrimiation more troubling than other forms of preferences.

I would suspect that most remaining low-number slots are for other special circumstance, low-income whites and asians, etc.  To the extent this is the case, it is probably a step in the right direction.

To the extent that privileged whites, blacks, hispanics and asians are getting any of those slots based on connections, I think we can all agree this should be stopped. However, I again will note that such preferences are not an apparant violation of equal protection, and that there is fairly little such connections at work in law school.  Neither George Bush nor Al Gore could get into a top law school based on their connections, even though they were obviously considerable.

Re: The smart minorities get it....Class based AA.
« Reply #89 on: September 10, 2007, 06:13:29 PM »

I agree with Obama, we need AA based on circumstance, not race.

I think you meant to say "not solely based on race," since AA based on circumstance would, of course, have to be inclusive of race because race can be a part of one's overall circumstances.

The circumstances, however, should be relevant to educational opportunity, no?