|(19) Race-Based Admissions: UGA must follow legal path to achieve
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Editorial 07/28/00
ADMISSIONS: UGA must follow legal path to achieve racial diversity (07/28/00)
[Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial] "State lawyers for the University of Georgia may well find it politically necessary to appeal the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield of Savannah that strikes down UGA's race-based admissions policies.
"But before doing so, the political elders determined to preserve UGA's dual-track admissions system had best gather with some serious constitutional legal experts for a group reading of Edenfield's opinion.
"Here's a prediction: UGA's lawyers won't appeal. If they appeal, they lose. And, furthermore, if this case ever reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, Edenfield will have brought scholarly and compelling legal clarity to the issue of "diversity" in public policy decisions.
"[Judge] Edenfield ruled that UGA's race-conscious admissions program is unconstitutional. ... Edenfield awarded damages amounting to additional tuition costs borne by two of the three elsewhere and ordered all three admitted. ... Edenfield's is no slouch opinion ... It is meticulous, precise, thorough, scholarly and reflective. And, furthermore, it reflects a learned man's passion for fairness and for justice; it is a clear opinion written with full awareness of the nation's interest and the national importance of the issues raised.
"Edenfield is a U.S. Supreme Court caliber judge. ... There's no question, Edenfield noted, that UGA employed an "admissions scheme (that) favored some candidates over others solely because of race." ... the question is whether it serves a compelling state interest. Edenfield then proceeds through the evidence, through the arguments, through the law and previous court decisions, building the case that UGA's admissions system is unconstitutional. "UGA's admissions process gives preferential treatment to racial minorities merely because of their status as racial minorities," the judge wrote. "UGA does so in the belief that this will foster some amorphous, intangible, yet allegedly real educational benefit" that nobody representing the UGA administration could define or explain, except in stereotypes. ... It is possible with outreach programs, with tutoring, and with bonus points for permissible factors, such as a disadvantaged background, to increase minority enrollment at UGA. That is important. Not so compelling that yesterday's immigrant gets a skin-color preference over a sharecropper's son, or that a citizen of South Carolina gets a skin-color preference over a millworker's daughter, but important ... Either students enter on merit or go elsewhere. No big deal. ... "
(Excerpted from Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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