Bill O'Reilly: Racial preferences in America

By Bill O'Reilly

We begin with the 14th Amendment, which says very clearly that no state shall deny any person equal protection under the law. That means that all laws passed by the 50 states have to apply to everyone equally.

Enter affirmative action which gives a racial preference to selected Americans in hiring, school admissions and other competitive arenas. If an individual American gets a preference, then he or she is not being treated equally with everyone else -- as simple as that.

In Michigan, voters struck down racial preferences for admission to state colleges and universities. That happened in 2006 and by a 58 percent margin of vote. Of course, it was appealed to the Supreme Court which ruled this week six to two that the people of Michigan have a constitutional right to say no to affirmative action in education.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is angry about the ruling. Ms. Sotomayor is a true American success story, raised by a single mother after her father died. She excelled at a Catholic high school in the Bronx and was accepted to Princeton University in 1972. While Sonia was a very good student, she believes affirmative action helped her.


SOTOMAYOR: The affirmative action of today is very different than it was when I was going to school. And each school does it in a different way. But I do know that, for me, it was a door opener that changed the course of my life.


O'REILLY: Ms. Sotomayor fulfilled her part of the bargain. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton and then attended Yale Law School where she prospered as well.

In 2009, Judge Sotomayor became the first Latina Supreme Court justice in U.S. history. I met the Justice in December. She is a very nice person who firmly believes that minorities in America do not, do not have equal protection under the law. She believes that because of the past, when blacks and other minorities were kept back by the white establishment, they have never been able to catch up. Therefore, the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment should carve out a special place for minorities whereby they would be given preference in some areas.

The problem is that by giving one person preference based on skin color or ethnicity, you harm another person. The University of Michigan can only admit so many students. If a white student meets the criteria but is denied admission because a black person with lesser credential gets the preference the white person is not receiving equal protection therefore it's a violation of the 14th Amendment. So it's kind of simple.

Now, what should happen, what should happen is that hiring, admissions and other circumstances be based on achievement. So, if you are a poor person and you achieve a certain grade level in school as Judge Sonia Sotomayor did that should weigh heavily in your favor. It's like a point system. Poor Americans get extra credit because they obviously don't have the resources that affluent Americans have. Therefore you take race and ethnicity out of the equation out of it.

Let me give you another example. If a brilliant white student has four felonies on his resume that works against the white student when applying for anything. Criteria such as character counts when you compete. And surely poor Americans who do well show positive character traits.

I would like to sit down with Justice Sotomayor and put that to her. If she does not accept it, then she is clearly wrong, constitutionally speaking. If she does accept it, we have a solution.

Trying to right historical wrongs at the expense of hard-working people today is not fair. The Supreme Court did the right thing this week. And that's "The Memo."