A Solid Yes to Affirmative Action

Two rulings add up to a stinging repudiation of the Justice Department

For the past decade, as the Justices of the Supreme Court have wrestled with the vexing dilemmas of affirmative action, they have produced a string of splintered and often confusing rulings. At first glance, the affirmativeaction decisions handed down last week by the high court seemed only to add to the muddle. The cases, one involving Cleveland fire fighters and the other a New York sheet-metal-workers union, were quite different, and the court's rulings were reached by narrow and shifting majorities, as some Justices agreed with parts of one opinion but not others. However, the twin decisions were resoundingly clear on...

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