Affirmative Action: Study from the Center for Economic Opportunity Flawed

According to The Arizona Daily Star, The Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO) produced a report suggesting that non White applicants to law schools in Arizona get a supposedly unfair advantage over White applicants. Unfortunately, reality presents a different story. As a result, CEO’s report is a polemical document which should be discarded.

The study compares median Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores and the median grade point average (GPA) in 2006 and 2007 among applicants in different racial classifications. The CEO study presents the difference in the numbers in the charts.

However, the study is flawed because the study neglects to present how many applicants were in each racial classification to the reader. I suppose that if this was done, it would eliminate the need to publish the report at all.

The study allows for the assumption that White and non White applicants apply in the same numbers to Arizona law schools, but the non White applicants get accepted more into the law school with significantly lower scores.

The reality of the situation is that Whites dominate the applicant pool. As a result, most of the accepted students are White. Therefore mere comparison of median LSAT scores and GPAs is inadequate.

The 2000 census for Arizona shows that the overwhelming numbers of residents are White (leading to the presumption that most of the applicant pool and accepted candidates are White as well).

Arizona (population: 5,130,632 (2000 Census) [NOTE: high number of “some other race”])

Race Percentage of population Number
White 75.5% 3,873,611
Black 3.1 158,873
Native American 5.0 255,879
Asian 1.8 92,236

In addition, a columnist states that the public universities in Arizona are not particularly selective. [Note: See my previous post on this subject.] This is not a bad thing because I believe the highest goal for a public university is to provide access to learning to its residents so that they can gain employment to become a responsible state taxpayer as well as provide goods and services to other state residents.

Furthermore, the legal profession is generally a White one.

Considering the truth of the reality ignored by the CEO study presented above, the reader should easily dismiss the polemical arguments of Roger Clegg and the Center for Equal Opportunity.

Post script: I generally take a dim view on the high regard given to admission standarized test scores. The scores are given a undeservedly high status. The LSAT does not directly relate to the actual activities required for law school and legal practice. My criticism is the same for the SAT as well.