Civil Rights Groups Denounce White House Attack on University of Michigan Affirmative Action Program
Interview with the Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder and president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, conducted by Between the Lines'Scott Harris
Following close on the heels of the controversy sparked by Sen. Trent Lott's racially insensitive comments, the Bush administration has chosen sides in a landmark affirmative action case that will soon be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The president will file a brief on behalf of prospective white students who allege in a suit that the University of Michigan's race-conscious admission policy unfairly discriminated against them.
White House spokespersons say that the administration's goal is not to overturn all college affirmative action programs, but just that used by the University of Michigan. But critics contend that Mr. Bush's stance on this case has cast a shadow over his presidency. Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson attacked Mr. Bush as "the most anti-civil rights president in 50 years."
The Michigan case reopens the debate ignited in the 1978 Supreme Court Bakke decision, which narrowly ruled that quotas were impermissible, but that the use of race in the pursuit of diversity could be allowed. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with the Rev. Joseph Lowery, cofounder and president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who takes a critical look at the Bush administration's decision to oppose the University of Michigan affirmative action policy.
Rev. Joseph Lowery currently works with the Black Leadership Forum. Contact the forum at (202) 780-5599 or visit their Web site at www.blackleadershipforum.org
Southern Christian Leadership Conference http://sclcnational.org
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