In a new interview, President Obama said courts should allow affirmative action for the foreseeable future, but he believes he can do more for the cause of racial justice with policies to help black students obtain high school diplomas.
The president said former Supreme CourtJustice Sandra Day O’Connor’s guidance in 2003 that affirmative action should expire within 25 years “was sort of a ballpark figure in her mind” and not a binding rule. The interview with The New Yorker magazine hit newsstands Monday.
Mr. Obama told author Jeffrey Toobin that racial preferences should be allowed to continue “if the University of Michigan or California decides that there is a value in making sure that folks with different experiences in a classroom will enhance the educational experience of the students, and they do it in a careful way.”
The president added, “most of the time the law’s principal job should be as a shield against discrimination, as opposed to a sword to advance a social agenda, because the law is a blunt instrument in these situations.”