We're doing the affirmative action cases in Con Law this week, especially the U of Michigan cases (Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger). The discussion is much more lively than when we read the abortion cases, which surprises me. Affirmative action is an incredibly touchy area for a lot of people, and in a class of mixed races, it seems like the sensitive nature of the subject would silence a lot of the debate, like it did when we talked about the abortion cases.
There is a big difference in the issues. People who are pro-life view abortion as murder, as the definite ending of a human life. Affirmative action isn't interpreted an issue of life and death. Also, I think we're at the age when it is convenient to be pro-choice. There are certainly some people here who are pro-life, but they didn't speak up, so there may be a general pro-choice consensus that contributed to the lack of debate. The reticence did surprise me, though.
Anyway, I'm glad that reticence has disappeared. It makes for a much more interesting class when people participate.