WASHINGTON -- The four Republican members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said Tuesday they oppose the University of Michigan's affirmative-action admissions policies.
The Supreme Court hears challenges to the policies in two arguments April 1.
White students have filed suit against the school because the university's Law School and undergraduate admission evaluations use race as a factor in selecting candidates.
Black and some Hispanic students receive an automatic bonus in evaluation because of their races.
"Most Americans do not like racial preferences -- privileges based on skin color," the GOP commissioners said. "And for good reason, they are unfair, unconstitutional and an ineffective quick fix."
The eight-member commission has been bitterly divided since the beginning of President Bush's term. A federal judge ruled that Clinton appointed commissioners could serve out their full six-year terms, rather than be replaced by the incoming president's nominees.
The GOP commissioners issued their statement as friend-of-the-court briefs poured in to the Supreme Court this week supporting the University of Michigan's stance.
The university said if race cannot be considered as a factor in admitting students it would "de-integrate" the nation's institutions of higher learning.
But the GOP commissioners said they were supporting the white student challengers on constitutional grounds.
"In weighing applicants for admission to the college, the university gives more points for racial identity than it does for perfect SAT scores," the commissioners said. "On a 150-point scale, a perfect SAT score gets you 12 points, but if you're African-American, Hispanic, or Native American, you are automatically granted 20 extra points. Asian Americans are a racial group but do not qualify for preferential admissions."
The commissioners said they agreed with President Bush that the evaluations represent a "quota system," and are "illegal and immoral."
"Like the President, we celebrate the nation's wonderful diversity, and look forward to the day when selective colleges and universities will not even be tempted to traffic in racial double standards," the commissioners said in their statement. "But that day will come only when black and Hispanic youngsters attend good schools that level the academic playing field before they graduate from high school."
The commissioners said a good education "in the elementary and secondary years, not quota-driven admissions to institutions of higher education, is what America's youth desperately needs."
The statement was signed by Commissioners Peter Kirsanow, Jennifer Braceras, Russsell Redenbaugh and Abigail Thernstrom.
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