Educational diversity has long been the only compelling state interest that satisfies strict scrutiny in affirmative action challenges absent prior institutional discrimination. However, as educational diversity may be losing favor, it is time to consider viable alternatives. This Article provides empirical support for the benefits of educational diversity and proposes three additional compelling state interests for courts to consider. Support for these compelling state interests comes directly from detailed quantitative and qualitative analyses of data collected from an empirical study of students at the University of Michigan Law School, relating to their preferences for diversity, perceptions of campus climate, and professional aspirations. Study findings indicate that educational diversity should remain a compelling state interest, and that courts should also consider the importance of (1) avoiding racial isolation, (2) promoting service to underserved communities, and (3) facilitating diversity in American leadership.
Meera E. Deo,
Empirically Derived Compelling State Interests in Affirmative Action Jurisprudence,
65 Hastings L.J. 661
Available at: https://repository.uchastings.edu/hastings_law_journal/vol65/iss3/2