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Judge Amy Coney Barrett and Affirmative Action

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If you’ve watched any of the saga also known as the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation process, then you know the difference between a Super-predator and a super-precedent.

A super-precedent would be a law like Brown vs. Board of Education, according to Amy Coney Barrett during questioning at the hearings. Thankfully, she sees Brown as settled law, so figure we don’t have to fear legally segregated schools in the future.

Mind you, we still might have a kind of defacto segregation in our public schools of the kind even Brown hasn’t been able to prevent. We just aren’t going to see diversity attacked with a roll back all the way to Brown. That was all the comfort one could derive from Barrett’s recent hearings where she refused to answer anything on the basis she might have to rule on the issue in the future.

It was the evasive catch-all from Barret who was an immovable soft stone wall.

Emil GuillermoEmil Guillermo

Barrett broke all land speed records for SCOTUS confirmations and is now the ninth member of the court.

She will be a super-predator on all the things you may hold dear.

By everything, I mean issues like the right to abortion; the right to affordable health care; the right to same-sex marriage; the right to LGBTQ rights in the workplace; the right to vote.

A Judge Barrett on the Supreme Court remains a constant threat to rock your world.

Democrats have rightly been focused on health care and saving the Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare. The SCOTUS hearing in early November will consider if parts of the ACA can be dismantled bit by bit. But every take away will likely lead to some loss of human life.

Too bad that’s dwarfed most all the issues, with the exception of the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade and the right to abortion.

For diversity and higher ed, you should be concerned with affirmative action, which has been unfortunately shoved to the side.


With several cases moving through the courts, most notably the Harvard case, It’s likely to be challenged soon. The conservative forces pushing to end affirmative action at Harvard have already said the Supreme Court is their ultimate destination. Barrett is poised to be their ultimate friend.

The trend for affirmative action is not good.

In California, where affirmative action in public education and employment was banned by a ballot initiative since the mid-1990s, a new ballot measure, Prop. 16 seeks to reinstate it with a YES vote.

Colleges and universities have been hamstrung to achieve the kind of diversity California deserves. Supporters were ready to help a generation that’s been shut out.

But polls show there’s no taste for affirmative action in California.

Only 37 percent support Prop. 16, while 50 percent oppose the measure, according to a poll from the Public Policy Institute.

As in the Harvard case, some Asian Americans have been recruited to aid in the battle AGAINST reinstatement. It remains a major conflict in the Asian American community where 70 percent of registered voters said they SUPPORT affirmative action, according to the latest National Asian American Voter Survey.

But with Barrett on the court, conservatives are already salivating over the defeat of affirmative action as Barrett’s first big hit.

That will come with much irony. The woman who is the picture of diversity, with her seven kids, including two adopted from Haiti, is likely to be on the side that ends affirmative action.

I guess if you’re adopted by a White family, there’s no problem.

Donald Trump surely finds nothing wrong with putting a daughter and son-in-law in key advisory posts. On merit? Hardly. Then again, the president himself isn’t exactly in his role because of experience in public governance. Look at his record in regards to the super qualified in the COVID battle. He relegates the expert Dr. Anthony Fauci to the bench and takes counsel from a virus rookie, Dr. Scott Atlas?

There’s an acceptable form of “affirmative action” that we are forced to live with every day.

But when it comes to giving the push to those who really need it, we insist on merit. We demand it. Especially when it comes to people of color, or those on the margins, qualified or not. Conservatives don’t believe in giving those folks a kind push forward.

Justice Barrett, the woman who sped through the process and was a recipient of a new kind of Trumpian affirmative action, is ready to make sure of that.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. He writes a weekly column for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. You can follow him on Twitter @emilamok. 

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