Every once in a while a great, conflicted country gets an insoluble problem exactly right. Such is the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling this past week on affirmative action. It upheld a Michigan referendum prohibiting the state from discriminating either for or against any citizen on the basis of race.
The Schuette ruling is highly significant for two reasons: its lopsided majority of 6-2, including a crucial concurrence from liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, and, even more important, Breyer’s rationale. It couldn’t be simpler: “The Constitution foresees the ballot box, not the courts, as the normal instrument for resolving differences and debates about the merits of these programs.”