Originally posted by Doreking: That was a decision is rooted in the idea that it was good policy. That's not what the constitution says. The constitution requires all groups be treated equally.
Not really. Equal protection isn't the same thing as all groups being treated equally. (All groups? U-M should admit students with IQ=90 at the same rate as IQ=120?) U-M argued, and the court agreed, that it had a "compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body," (O'Connor).
I probably lean closer to your side than most higher ed professionals, who would come down clearly on the side of equity. I think class-based affirmative action is preferable in most, but not all, cases. Nevertheless, a working class minority individual's experience is categorically different than a work class Caucasians. I don't see how anyone can dispute this, unless they think we're truly a post-racial society, which is laughable. The student body is enriched by having representation of a diversity of experiences. The research confirms this, making it more than a vague unsubstantiated notion. The educational outcomes argument is ultimately the one that convinces me.
(I would like to see equity in general, but I'm less comfortable than many in using affirmative action to get there.)