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Affinnative action policy is even more divisive and unsettled today than at its inception more than thirty years ago. This is a remarkable socio-political fact. I know of no other public policy since the rise of the administrative state during the New Deal that has remained so intensely unpopular yet has survived so long. Equally remarkable, its current unpopularity coincides with strong support for ethnic diversity in all areas of public and private life and with unprecedented social progress by blacks and other minorities. This Article analyzes the true nature of this conflict, how it arose, why it endures, and the role that law has played in fomenting and perpetuating it-often and increasingly in the name of diversity.

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