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哈佛招生歧视案:最高法院展开辩论,种族偏好问题成焦点

A Diverse Supreme Court Questions the Value of Diversity
哈佛招生歧视案:最高法院展开辩论,种族偏好问题成焦点

WASHINGTON — Over five hours of Supreme Court arguments on Monday on the fate of affirmative action in higher education, the justices and the lawyers arguing before them mentioned diversity more than 200 times.

华盛顿——周一,最高法院就高等教育平权法案的命运进行了五个多小时的辩论,期间大法官与出庭辩论的律师超过200次提及“多元”(diversity)一词。

That was in one sense unsurprising, as educational diversity has for decades been the sole justification accepted by the Supreme Court for allowing what it has said the Constitution and a federal law would otherwise forbid: taking account of race in admissions decisions.

从某种意义上说,这并不令人意外,因为几十年来,教育多元一直是最高法院接受的允许种族考虑的唯一理由,尽管宪法和一部联邦法律禁止在录取决定中考虑种族。
 

由四位女性、两位非裔、一位西裔组成的最高法院在多样化上是美国历史之最。

The court has rejected a second possible justification for racial preferences, that of providing a remedy for past discrimination.

法院驳回了种族偏好的第二个可能的理由,即作为对以往歧视的法律救济。

“There’s not a remedial justification on the table here,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett said on Monday. “Our precedents rule that out.”

“法律救济在这里没有任何依据,”法官艾米·康尼·巴雷特周一表示。“我们的先例排除了这一点。”

Diversity is the last man standing. But it is a murky and contested concept, opaque by design and an anodyne way to confront the combustible topic of race. Monday’s arguments suggested that the court’s conservative majority was prepared to rule that the pursuit of diversity is no longer reason enough to allow racial preferences at the nation’s colleges and universities.

坚持到最后的只剩多元。但这是一个晦涩且有争议的概念,带着有意的含糊其辞,也是一种应对种族敏感话题的缓和手法。周一的辩论表明,法庭的保守派多数准备裁定,追求多元不再是允许美国高等学府存在种族偏好的充分理由。

There was a note of irony in this, as the court — with four women, two African Americans and a Latina — is the most diverse in history, at least as measured by those demographic characteristics.

这是有一点讽刺意味的,因为这是一个有史以来最多元的法庭——四名女性、两名非裔美国人、一名拉丁裔,至少从这些人口特征来看是这样。

Taking account of such characteristics in admissions decisions is said to make it more likely that students will learn from one another in the classroom. There was little evidence on Monday that this phenomenon applies to justices on the bench.

在录取决定中将这些特征纳入考量被认为会使学生更有可能在课堂上彼此学习。周一,几乎没有证据表明这种现象体现在了这些大法官身上。

Ryan Y. Park, North Carolina’s solicitor general, gave the standard account of the benefits of student-body diversity in his defense of the admissions program at the University of North Carolina.

北卡罗来纳州的总检察长瑞安·Y·帕克在为北卡罗来纳大学的招生计划辩护时,给出了学生群体多元的益处这一标准说法。

“This learning environment helps us seek truth, build bridges across students of different backgrounds, and, critically here, equip students with the tools needed to function effectively as citizens and leaders in our complex and increasingly diverse society,” he said.

他说:“这种学习环境帮助我们追寻真理,在不同背景的学生之间架起桥梁,并且在这里至关重要的是,为学生提供必要的工具,以便在我们复杂且日益多元的社会中有效发挥公民和领导者的作用。”

Justice Clarence Thomas was unpersuaded.

这并没有说服克拉伦斯·托马斯大法官。

“I’ve heard the word diversity quite a few times,” he said, “and I don’t have a clue what it means.”

“多元性这个词我听到很多次,”他说,“但我不知道它是什么意思。”

Parents send their children to college to learn things, he said. “They don’t necessarily send them there to have fun or feel good or anything like that,” he said. “They send them there to learn physics or chemistry or whatever they’re studying.”

他说,父母送孩子上大学是为了学习。“把他们送到那里不见得就是要玩得开心或感觉良好之类,”他说。“把他们送到那里是为了学习物理或化学或任何他们在学的东西。”

Other conservative members of the court, including Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch, seemed troubled by the difficulty of nailing down when adequate levels of diversity had been achieved. Racial classifications must ordinarily meet the most demanding form of judicial scrutiny, they said, while assessing whether diversity is meeting its goals is very hard to measure.

还有一些法庭的保守派成员,包括小塞缪尔·A·阿里托和尼尔·M·戈萨奇,似乎苦于难以判定怎样才算达到了充分的多元。他们说,种族分类通常必须满足最苛刻的司法审查形式,而评估多元是否达到其目标却很难衡量。

The lawyers defending the challenged programs, at U.N.C. and Harvard, did not provide the court with criteria capable of empirical testing.

为美国北卡罗来纳大学和哈佛大学遭质疑的课程辩护的律师没有向法院提供能够进行实证检验的标准。

But they said that doing away with affirmative action would have profound consequences. “A blanket ban on race-conscious admissions would cause racial diversity to plummet at many of our nation’s leading educational institutions,” said Elizabeth B. Prelogar, the U.S. solicitor general, who argued in support of both universities.

但他们表示,取消平权行动将产生深远的影响。“全面禁止具有种族意识的招生将导致我们国家许多领先的教育机构的种族多元性急剧下降,”支持两所大学的司法部长伊丽莎白·B·普雷洛格说。

The diversity rationale has sometimes been criticized for assuming that students of a similar background hold similar views. Along those lines, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. questioned whether all students of a given race necessarily contributed distinctive perspectives.

多元的基本原理有时会因为假设背景相似的学生就会持有相似的观点而受到批评。顺着这一点,首席大法官约翰·G·罗伯茨质疑特定种族的所有学生是否都必然能贡献与别不同的视角。

He imagined a Black applicant. “Let’s say his viewpoints tend to be very close to, you know, the white applicants,” the chief justice said, “and he grew up in Grosse Pointe, you know, had a great upbringing, comfortable, his parents went to Harvard, he’s a legacy, and yet, under your system, when he checks African American, he gets a tip.”

他提出设想一位黑人申请者。“假设他的观念倾向于非常接近……接近白人申请者,”这位首席大法官表示,“他在葛洛斯波因特长大……有良好舒适的成长环境,父母上的是哈佛,他得到了校友子女录取优待,然而按照你们的体系,当他符合非裔美国人条件时,他还能得到优待。”

Seth P. Waxman, a lawyer for Harvard, responded that not all Black applicants get a tip — an admissions advantage — and he pointed to a chart in the court record that he said indicated that racial preferences are very small.

哈佛大学律师赛斯·P·瓦克斯曼回应称,并非所有黑人申请者都能得到优待——即一种录取优势——他指出,法庭记录中的一张图表显示,种族偏好其实影响很小。

“Well,” the chief justice responded, “so there’s only a little racial discrimination in the case.”

“那么,”首席大法官回应道,“本案中也是只有一点点种族歧视。”

Justice Elena Kagan acknowledged that the role of diversity is “a little bit mysterious.” But she added that “part of what it meant to be an American and to believe in American pluralism is that actually our institutions, you know, are reflective of who we are as a people in all our variety.”

埃琳娜·卡根大法官承认多元的作用“有点神秘”。但她又说,“在何为美国人的问题上,在对美国多元主义的秉信上,有一部分在于我们的制度……实际上反映了我们作为一个多元化民族有着怎样的面貌。”

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wondered whether Harvard was truly committed to all sorts of diversity.

布雷特·M·卡瓦诺大法官质疑哈佛大学是否真的致力于实现各个层面的多元。

“Why the disparate treatment of religion and race?” he asked. “Evangelical Christians, Catholics, Muslims add to the educational diversity at Harvard and other religious groups add to the diversity. Why not ask about that?”

“为什么要把宗教和种族区别对待?”他问道。“福音派基督徒、天主教徒、穆斯林都增加了哈佛的教育多元,其他宗教团体亦然。为何不提这件事?”

Justice Kagan wondered whether it was lawful for members of the court to try to hire diverse law clerks.

卡根大法官发问称,法庭试图聘请多种多样的法律助理是否合法。

“You know, I want clerks who would be great on any number of criteria, but I also want a diverse set of clerks,” she said, suggesting a thought experiment. “So, over the years, people will look at that and they’ll say: There are Asian Americans there, there are Hispanics there, there are African Americans there, as well as there are whites there. Can a judge not do that?”

“我想要在任何标准上都很优秀的助理,但我也希望实现助理团队的多样化,”她提出可以这样试想。“那么在多年之后,人们看到就会说:有亚裔,有西语裔,有非裔,还有白人。法官可以不这么做吗?”

Cameron T. Norris, another lawyer for the challengers, said “that is an admirable goal.”

另一位异议方律师卡梅伦·T·诺里斯说,“这是个令人钦佩的目标。”

But he added: “I don’t think a judge could implement that goal by putting a thumb on the scale against Asian applicants or giving a big preference to Black and Hispanic applicants.”

但他补充说:“我不认为法官可以通过压制亚裔申请人,或是给予黑人或西语裔申请者很多优待来实现这个目标。”

Educational diversity as a justification for race-conscious admissions was introduced by Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., in a solo opinion in 1978 in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. The decision struck down the admissions system at the medical school of the University of California, Davis, which had specifically reserved seats for minority applicants. Making race the determining factor, Justice Powell wrote, violated the Constitution.

大法官小刘易斯·F·鲍威尔在1978年加州大学董事会诉巴基案的个人意见中提出了将教育多元作为种族录取的理由。该案判决推翻了加州大学戴维斯分校医学院专为少数族裔申请者保留名额的招生制度。鲍威尔大法官写道,将种族作为入学考量的决定性因素违反了宪法。

But taking account of “a far broader array of qualifications and characteristics of which racial or ethnic origin is but a single though important element” was permissible, he wrote, to foster educational diversity in which all students learn from each other through “speculation, experiment and creation.”

但他写道,应该允许考虑“更为广泛的资质和特征——种族或民族出身只是其中一个相当重要的因素”,从而促进教育多元,让所有学生通过“思考、尝试和创造”来相互学习。

The approach dodged questions of historical guilt and of remedies for past discrimination, and it made it hard to identify students who would have been admitted but for racial preferences. It has had a long run. But, judging by the justices’ questions on Monday, the diversity rationale’s days may be numbered.

这一原则回避了历史罪行和对以往歧视的法律救济问题,而且导致很难确定在没有种族偏好的情况下哪些学生会被录取。这也是接下来很长一段时间使用的原则。但从大法官们周一的质问来看,以多元为依据的办法已经时日无多。
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