Following oral arguments for two cases that will determine the future of affirmative action, a major topic of discussion was how the apparent 25-year timeframe that Justice O'Connor set in the Grutter v. Bollinger decision kept coming up. Conservative members of the Court pressed for an answer on when race-based admissions should end, and how they should interpret O'Connor's statement, “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today."
Speaking to Bloomberg Law, Dean Vikram Amar said all the attention that line has received highlights the care justices should take in drafting their decisions. O’Connor’s comment was intended to be nothing more than an expression of hope, he said.
“Oral argument is a time to float ideas, to be provocative,” he said. “There’s lot of cases where the questions asked at oral arguments never really find meaningful expression in the opinions that get written.”
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