JAYSON AND THE SUPREMES
WASHINGTON -- High-ranking Justice Department lawyers privately express hope that the Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times could push the Supreme Court to rule against racial quotas in the University of Michigan case.
The high court has been considered split 5 to 4 over Michigan, with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor the unknown swing vote. The decision will go far toward setting the limits of affirmative action. Times management contends that the disgrace of Blair, an African-American reporter, has nothing to do with the newspaper's quest for diversity.
Nevertheless, the government's lawyers speculate that the case could impact the Supreme Court's view of affirmative action. The government has intervened against the University of Michigan's contention that its racial admission policies are constitutional.