Today's Supreme Court has not only reaffirmed that principle -- or lack of principle -- but also, by striking down a companion case involving undergraduate admissions, added that you can't blatantly award points for race. That would be giving the game away so obviously that even the great unwashed masses would see what you are doing.
Racial preferences and quotas are favored by what Justice Clarence Thomas' dissent called "the know-it-all elites." It has become a badge of their identity and what its actual consequences are for others in the real world is of no real interest to them. Justice Thomas is unimpressed by the endlessly repeated mantra of "diversity," which to him is just "a fashionable catch-phrase."
Far from buying Justice O'Connor's many reiterations of claims for its educational benefits, Justice Thomas cited empirical studies indicating that the much vaunted diversity "actually impairs leaning among black students."
No one epitomizes the know-it-all-elites more than the New York Times, whose front-page story by Linda Greenhouse refers to "the broad societal consensus in favor of affirmative action in higher education," despite polls which have repeatedly shown the public's grave misgivings about racial quotas and preferences.
Justice Thomas' devastating dissent is deftly evaded by Ms. Greenhouse, who says that he "took as his text not the briefs but his own life story."
If you want to find out whether you can rely on what the New York Times says, now that Jayson Blair is gone, read Justice Thomas' dissent for yourself and see if you can find anything there that would lead you to believe that it was about his own life story.