Affirmative v. Negative Action
December 11, 2008 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Preparing a speech on college affirmative action policies for a debate tournament, could use some help...

My debate group was one of eight selected to be in a special tournament. I would like some prior arguments to use to base mine off of. I've read a decent amount of literature on this already (the two relevant supreme court cases, for example), but found no formally presented speeches or formal essays arguing a side. I believe that these would be helpful because they'd give me a sense of what the biggest arguments are. Does anyone know where to find these or have links to any?

(FYI: They're the Motorola-sponsored Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Debates. They're tomorrow. They're available for public viewing. I have arguments prepared, but I see no harm in making them better.)
posted by LSK to Law & Government (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pro: LBJ's speech at Howard University.

Con: Richard Sander's Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools.

Good luck
posted by ewiar at 9:25 AM on December 11, 2008

Also, there are at least three relevant cases you should know:

Grutter v. Bollinger
Gratz v. Bollinger
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

posted by ewiar at 9:28 AM on December 11, 2008

I've heard that the amicus brief submitted on behalf of high ranking military officers was influential in the Grutter/Gratz cases. Basically, they argued that diversity, as well as exposure to diversity, is important to have an effective officer corps, which in turn is necessary for national security. It's pro-AA but comes at the issue from a different angle, so it might be useful. A ~40 pp. PDF of the brief is available here.
posted by bbq_ribs at 9:45 AM on December 11, 2008

found no formally presented speeches or formal essays arguing a side

The briefs and dissents didn't do this for you? Are you looking for more a social justice take?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:10 AM on December 11, 2008

Don't just read the cases, read the documents that went into them. Duke Law has a site with a number of the filings and briefs in the Michigan cases, both for Grutter and Gratz.

If you're only going to read one thing, I'd read the amici curiea brief submitted by the NAACP LDF and ACLU in the Grutter case. Reading the table of contents in any of the briefs in those cases will give you single sentence summaries of each argument the filer advanced. There were the briefs of the parties, amici briefs for both sides, and amici briefs supporting neither parties. Formal presentations of a lot of the possible arguments abound. might be useful. If you haven't already, you could also check out some critical race theory takes on the subject. It may have some avenues of discussion that you haven't run into before.

On the con side, you could check out articles and the like by Linda Chavez, of the Center for Equal Opportunity, and Ward Connerly, of the American Civil Rights Institution. They use sleazy tactics, and I feel gross for mentioning them (sleazy tactics, I say!), but they are prolific and on the other side.

Also, you really can't find any essays espousing the arguments for or against? Where are you looking? There are tons in legal journals alone, many debating only the merits (albeit still in a legal context). I'm fairly sure there are plenty of sister articles where two academicians take either side of the issue and release them in the same publication.
posted by averyoldworld at 10:26 AM on December 11, 2008

Also, congratulations on being selected for the tournament. Good luck.
posted by averyoldworld at 10:32 AM on December 11, 2008

Intelligence Squared US recently held a debate on affirmative action generally, and its audio is available online. (Don't miss the link lower down the page to audio of the full two hours.)
posted by abcde at 1:34 PM on December 11, 2008

Oh, and here's the Transcript, which is probably a better choice if you're trying to get this done by tomorrow.
posted by abcde at 1:37 PM on December 11, 2008

If you haven't already listened to them, you can find recordings of the Supreme Court oral arguments for Grutter and Gratz for free at
posted by non sum qualis eram at 10:24 PM on December 11, 2008

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