Thursday, June 23, 2016
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (RACE-BASED) FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION UPHELD BY SCOTUS 4-3:
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION KICKS OPEN THE DOOR FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA.
ELENA KAGAN RECUSED HERSELF.
Sources: NY Times, NBC News, YouTube
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to a race-conscious admissions program at the University of Texas at Austin, handing supporters of affirmative action a major victory.
The vote was 4-3.
Only seven justices participated in the decision, as Justice Elena Kagan had recused herself for prior work on the case as United States solicitor general and the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat remains vacant.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., dissented.
The case concerned the University of Texas’ idiosyncratic admissions program.
Most applicants from within the state are admitted under a part of the program that guarantees admission to top students in every high school in the state.
The Top 10 Percent program has produced significant racial and ethnic diversity. In 2011, for instance, 26 percent of freshmen who enrolled under the program were Hispanic, and 6 percent were black. Texas is about 38 percent Hispanic and 12 percent black.
The case challenged a second part of the admissions program.
Under it, remaining students from Texas and elsewhere are considered under standards that take into account academic achievement and other factors, including race and ethnicity.
Many colleges and universities base all of their admissions decisions on such holistic grounds.
In Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003, the Supreme Court endorsed free-standing admissions programs, saying it was permissible to consider race as one factor among many to achieve educational diversity.
Writing for the majority in that case, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said she expected that “25 years from now,” the “use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary.”
The case, Fisher v. University of Texas, No. 14-981, was brought by Abigail Fisher, a white woman who said the university had denied her admission based on her race.
She has since graduated from Louisiana State University.
When the court last considered Ms. Fisher’s case in 2013, supporters of affirmative action were nervous.
But the court deferred conclusive action in what appeared to be a compromise decision.