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Letters: Constitutional

October 19, 2013

Re “Affirmative action's latest test,” Editorial, Oct. 14

You say voter-approved bans on affirmative action, like the one in Michigan, do not violate the Constitution.

The spirit of the Constitution demands liberty and justice for all. One dimension of justice defined by Aristotle is rectifying justice: justice that compensates for past injustices, or what we call affirmative action when applied to groups. The Judeo-Christian tradition, with its economic reversal ideals, also demands preferential consideration for those treated unfairly in the past.

If the Constitution is built on justice, as justice is historically understood, it entails preference for those who have been denied equal opportunity. Thus, to pit equal access against preferential treatment fails to appreciate that preferential treatment is an important mechanism providing equal access and should not be limited to voter whim.

Douglas J. Miller
Santa Barbara

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