The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a long-standing racial controversy – without any reverberations on the presidential campaign. This reveals a lot about emerging racial politics of the Obama era.
The court is deciding whether public universities can consider race in their admissions process, and a broad ruling here could make affirmative action illegal across state and federal governments. That means, among other things, less diversity in the halls of power.
The solicitor general for America’s first African-American president cautioned against that fate. The United States needs affirmative action, he told the court, because it helps groom “effective leaders in an increasingly diverse society.”
Despite this high-profile case and President Barack Obama’s personal intervention, however, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is ducking this entire discussion.
His campaign has refused to disclose its position on affirmative action, even after recent inquiries from the Wall Street Journal and Politico. Unless the issue is force-fed to Romney on live television – in the remaining debates or another interview – the Republican nominee will have navigated an entire presidential campaign without touching the most significant racial policy dispute of the year.