Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: It would be difficult to dispute
the range of social benefits that Dr Cohen attributes to a diversely balanced
medical work force.1 However, the issue
before the Supreme Court in the Michigan cases, and the issue that will directly
influence the impact of the verdicts on medical education, is whether these
social benefits rise to the level of compelling state interests. And if they
do, Supreme Court precedents will require that the means used to achieve them
be narrowly tailored to meet each goal.2,3 Racial
classifications by governmental bodies are considered intrinsically "odious"
under constitutional law.4 Any race-conscious
means used by a governmental entity to achieve a "compelling state interest"
must therefore be "narrowly tailored" to limit the harm inflicted to achieve
the benefit. To meet this requirement, no other less constitutionally offensive
means of achieving the compelling interest must be feasible.
Ryan J. Affirmative Action in Medical School AdmissionsAffirmative Action in Medical School Admissions. JAMA. 2003;289(23):3084. doi:10.1001/jama.289.23.3084-a