Editors’ note: The following essay forms part of “Affirmative action & the law: a symposium,” a special section exploring topics to be addressed in the current Supreme Court session. Roger Kimball’s introduction can be read here.

We live, allegedly, in a democracy of sorts. While it is not a plebiscitary democracy, in which every issue is put directly to the people, but rather a representative democracy, it is nonetheless supposed to be a system in which things that the populace wants generally get done, and in which things that the populace doesn’t want done aren’t. It has probably not escaped your notice that this is not a particularly accurate description of our society today.

In fact, one of the...


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