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June 20, 2018

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Photo by: Sonia J. Stamm
Affirmative Action
Last Featured: 7/7/2003

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In a 5 to 4, end of term, split decision, the U. S. Supreme Court upheld affirmative action programs at public universities. More than twenty years ago the High Court outlawed strict quota systems, but the justices let stand programs that consider race as one of many factors. Two white students who were denied admission to the University of Michigan asked the Court to revisit the 1978 precedent and answer once and for all: are racial preferences a reasonable way to value diversity or a veiled attempt at reverse discrimination? Although affirmative action programs remain legal, a divided court, and a divided nation, keeps the debate alive.

Carl Cohen has taught Philosophy at the University of Michigan since 1955. Professor Cohen was one of the first to challenge affirmative action policies on his campus. His Freedom of Information Act requests of these policies in the mid-1990s are credited with sparking the movement to end race-based admissions at the University. Cohen has served as grievance arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and worked for the Michigan Employment Relations Commission on matters pertaining to morality in policy and law. He is the author of a book called Naked Racial Preference.

Michael Eric Dyson is the Avalon Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. Known as a hip-hop intellectual, Dyson is also a Baptist minister. He is the author of Race Rules, Navigating the Color Line, as well as books of cultural criticism about Martin Luther King Jr, Malcom X and rapper Tupac Shakur. He writes a monthly column for Savoy magazine, is a contributing editor at Christian Century, and is a contributor for Vibe magazine. He has received awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and the NAACP.

Closing Quote
"Our aim is to recognize what Lincoln pointed out: the fact that there are some respects in which men are obviously not equal but also insist that there should be an equality of self-respect and of mutual respect, an equality of rights before the law, and at least an approximate equality in the conditions under which each man obtains the chance to show the stuff that is in him when compared to his fellows."

— President Theodore Roosevelt

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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.

ATTENTION TEACHERS: Additional materials supporting use of this program in the classroom are available: ClickHere
California’s Proposition 209
U.S. Supreme Court Syllabi: Affirmative Action
American Association for Affirmative Action
New York Times
Affirmative Action Information Center
American Civil Liberties Union
The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action & Integration, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)
The Economist
The Center for Individual Rights
The Cato Institute
Americans Against Discrimination and Preferences
Naked Racial Preference
by Carl Cohen
Race Rules: Navigating the Color Line
by Michael Eric Dyson
Race and the Justice System
Employment Discrimination Post-Ledbetter
The Women's Equality Amendment