The Magazine

Race and the Republicans

The Bush administration shouldn't be afraid to file a brief defending race-neutral admissions in the Michigan affirmative action cases.

Dec 30, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 16 • By TERRY EASTLAND
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The country has now gone through two weeks during which no one in a position of elected leadership in the Republican party has really stood up for the party's core principle, even as Trent Lott has made a fool of himself. Lott's remarkable achievement was to have, within ten days, commented in favor of segregation and then also in favor of "across the board" affirmative action--positions that would have qualified him as a Democrat in good standing both in 1948 and 2002. (Indeed, Lott's ultimate reparative act might have been to switch parties.) By filing a brief against diversity, the administration could reaffirm the Republican party's and indeed the nation's best principles. By coming down on the side of nondiscrimination and equal treatment, the administration would state that in America both hostile and "benign" racial classifications are presumptively wrong, and for the same reason: They violate the right of the individual to be treated without regard to race.

--Terry Eastland, for the Editors