Yesterday the Supreme Court heard opening arguments in two landmark cases that may decide the future of affirmative action: We'll have our own debate today between Attorney Kirk Kolbo, who argued against affirmative action before the high court, and Miranda Massie a lead attorney for the University of Michigan students who backs the preservation of affirmative action; An embedded reporter comes home after stint in Iraq.
9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:25: With thousands of protesters outside, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on two landmark cases that will likely decide the future of affirmative action. The stakes are high. The court could prohibit affirmative action programs at all universities, public and private, across the country. The court could allow the programs to continue. Or, the court could pronounce new standards for evaluating programs on a case by case basis. The New York Times reports it appears based on yesterday's proceedings that affirmative action will survive its most important test in 25 years. Most notably, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is widely viewed as holding the likely swing vote in the decision, raised a series of skeptical questions to the lawyers arguing against affirmative action. The Court is hearing a pair of cases involving the admissions policy of the University of Michigan. The case names are Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. Grutter is a challenge to the university's law school admissions program, which gives African American, Latino and Native American applicants a loosely defined special consideration to ensure that there is a "critical mass" of such students in each new class. Gratz is a challenge to the university's undergraduate admissions policy, which tries to ensure a "critical mass" of African American, Latino and Native American enrollments by giving such applicants an automatic 20-point bonus on the school's 150-point "selection index." Let's begin by hearing some of yesterday's arguments. This is an excerpt of Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony M. Kennedy quizzing Kirk O. Kolbo, the attorney for the plaintiffs in Grutter v. Bollinger, which challenges the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative action program. [Tape begins with Kolbo] Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony M. Kennedy quiz Kirk O. Kolbo, the attorney for the plaintiffs in Grutter v. Bollinger, which challenges the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative action program. Kirk Kolbo, lead counsel for the Center for Individual Rights who argued against affirmative action in front of the Supreme Court yesterday. Miranda Massie, lead attorney for the student defenders in the University of Michigan Law School Case. Agnes Aleobua, University of Michigan student who attended yesterday's mass protest outside the Supreme Court. Related link: Center for Individual Rights 9:40-9:55: It's a new term that has now become a household phrase in America - "embedded journalists" - reporters who are traveling with US forces as they move through Iraq. There are currently more than 500 "embeds" in Iraq and Northern Kuwait. More than 1200 other journalists are covering the war as what the Pentagon calls unilaterals - journalists not with US forces or not officially accredited by the Defense Department. Many of the "embeds" are now deep into Iraq with divisions of the US military and it is very difficult for them to leave what the Pentagon calls the theater of operation. But our next guest is one of the few "embeds" that have left the frontlines and returned home to the US. Guest: Cholene Espinoza, former U2 pilot and military jet instructor who just returned from Iraq where she was working as an embedded reporter for Talk Radio News Service 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.