“ ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ ”
— Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking Glass”
The marble friezes above the Supreme Court chamber depict 18 great lawgivers, including Moses, Solomon, King John and William Blackstone. Come Tuesday, as the bemused — or so one hopes — justices listen to oral arguments in a case from Michigan, they might wonder why Lewis Carroll is not included. He would have relished the Alice-in-Wonderland argument the justices will hear, which is as follows.
Although the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment says “No state shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” this provision of Michigan’s Constitution violates the Equal Protection guarantee: No public university or school district may “discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
Will is a Washington Post columnist.