Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Law Beater

[Other posts in the series:

Blog and Media Roundup

Reaction to Justice Thomas' concurrence

Reaction to Justice Breyer's dissent

Reaction to C.J. Roberts' opinion

Reaction to Justice Stevens' dissent

Reaction to Justice Kennedy's controlling concurrence

Opening thoughts (Parts I and II)]

I feel like I'm in an abusive relationship with Justice Kennedy. I feel like he's just socked me in the mouth, and yet I still want to kiss him.

The opinions are up (all 185 pages of them), and Kennedy's opinion will be the controlling one. And (though I can't be sure because I'm working off the syllabus) it's about as narrow as you can get while still joining the result. It does not hold that government entities cannot take race into account while pursuing diversity, and it does not hold that the desire for a diverse student body is not a compelling interest. It merely holds that the Seattle & Louisville plans are not tailored enough--their use of race is either too arbitrary and ad hoc (in Louisville) or it falters by relying completely on a Black/other paradigm which is not a fine enough grain. He even provides a list of race-conscious remedies he thinks he would find constitutionally permissible.

I'm going to read Kennedy's opinion first, then get to the others. It still strikes me as the wrong decision, but it appears that we've dodged the worst-case scenario. Brown lives another day.

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