Thursday, June 26, 2003

Addendum to My Post on Kennedy

Below, I quoted from Kennedy's dissent in the Michigan law school case. A professor at Columbia Law School, however, emails to say that Kennedy's own quotation of an unidentified Michigan law professor might be misleading:
I used to teach at U-Mich and was present in a faculty committee meeting with Stillwagon when something like this was said. Since Justice Kennedy doesn't provide a citation for the remark, and since the comment does not appear in Stillwagon's trial testimony, I assume the reference is to some comment in his pre-trial deposition, which I could not find online. [The remark would seem to be hearsay evidence, which may explain why it did not appear in the trial transcript.]

But my recollection from the meeting I attended is that the comment was understood in context as an ironic comment on the difficulty of drawing lines in applying the law school's pre-1990 affirmative action policy, and on Stillwagon's inability to provide a reasoned explanation for why, under that policy as applied by Stillwagon's office, Cubans were not counted as minority students for affirmative action purposes. It's possible that Stillwagon missed the irony, since he was being questioned closely on the policy by faculty members at the time. . . . And it's also possible that something like this was also said on another occasion, with or without ironic intention, when I wasn't present.


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