Why Affirmative Action’s Days Are Numbered

Richard Kahlenberg explains why he thinks the current system is unworkable in the long run:

America is slated to become a majority minority nation by midcentury, and several states have already crossed that threshold. This is significant because the Supreme Court has long held that the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law is especially necessary to bar discrimination against “discrete and insular minorities.” So long as white voters are in clear control of American institutions, racial preferences in favor of underrepresented minorities trigger less legal concern. But in instances where minorities are a political majority, judges become more skeptical. In a 1989 case contesting Richmond, Va.’s racial set-aside in contracting, for example, the justices took note of the city’s 50 percent black population in striking down the program. As minorities gain in population and political power nationally, racial preferences are likely to come under increasing scrutiny from the courts.