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SCOTUS Upholds Use of Race in U. Texas Admissions

SCOTUS Upholds Use of Race in U. Texas Admissions

Universities still must continue to reassess their race-based policies.

Yet another exciting day for SCOTUS watchers. Thursday morning, the Court released its opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, holding in a 4-3 decision (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate) that the use of race in admissions at the Texas university was constitutional.

Opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, is here. Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito dissented. On first glance, it’s clear that Texas’ “Ten Percent Plan,” where the top 10% of the class from every Texas high school gains automatic admission was a big factor, as a race-neutral alternative that still increased diversity.

Petitioner Abigail Fisher had argued that the Ten Percent Plan should have been sufficient to meet UT’s diversity goals without requiring any further race-conscious admissions policies.

The majority of the court disagreed, accepting UT’s arguments that the Ten Percent Plan was not enough. Kennedy’s opinion does caution that UT has a “continuing obligation” to engage in “periodic reassessment of the constitutionality, and efficacy, of its admissions program…Going forward, that assessment must be undertaken in light of the experience the school has accumulated and the data it has gathered since the adoption of its admissions plan.”

In Fisher I, an earlier round of this case, the Court faulted the lower court for allowing too much deference to UT’s judgments on their diversity needs. In Thursday’s opinion, they softened that somewhat, stating, “Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission.”

With a 4-3 decision, many are naturally speculating what might have happened if Justice Antonin Scalia had not died earlier this year. A conservative stalwart on the Court, he would have almost certainly joined the dissenting justices, and perhaps may have been able to sway Kennedy, the Court’s swing vote, his way.

Justice Kennedy’s full opinion here:


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Government sponsored racism is okay as long as it promotes “social justice”. Whatever social justice means.

Don’t bother studying too hard if you’re white anyway. Your job will go to an H1-B.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to jack burns. | June 23, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I have a grand-nephew ready for college. He is strong and sturdy, and mechanically adept. It’s his decision to make, of course, but I suggested he learn a mechanical trade like automotive repair or HVAC. Reason: even Indians need their cars repaired and their homes and offices remaining comfortable, and H1Bs aren’t doing those jobs.

The 1969 prophecy that racial preferences would cause the exact grievances of protesters today
“No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training. Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards.”

Sad: An unconstrained SCOTUS credentialing “diversity” over knowledge and effort.


“What is truly surprising- and relatively ignored- is the economic impact of affirmative action on the disadvantaged, for whom it is most insistently invoked. The relative position of disadvantaged individuals within the groups singled out for preferential treatment has generally declined under affirmative action. – Thomas Sowell, Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?

Thomas Sowell ~ The Unintended Consequences of Affirmative Action

“The vision of the anointed is one in which such ills as poverty, irresponsible sex, and crime derive primarily from ‘society,’ rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by ‘society.’” – Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed

Class diversity or racism, sexism, etc. by another name is a denial of individual dignity.

    n.n in reply to n.n. | June 23, 2016 at 11:27 am

    This ruling is a setback for civilized society. Class diversity is the policy of bigoted or myopic individuals.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to n.n. | June 23, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      It is also – in my view – a big setback for those minorities who, without affirmative action, can still do the job required under the old standards.

The “Ten Percent Plan” is just as bad. It’s “diversity” by geography and class instead of race (though they often go together) but so what? “Diversity” is simply not a valid goal for a university. There is no reason to suppose that it produces a better education, and that is what a university is supposed to be about. Why should some dumb kid get a place ahead of someone much better than him, just because everyone else at his school was even dumber?

A most race neutral college entrance exam…a brain scan

“The HCP project has also moved brain scanning into the realm of the feature film Minority Report by showing that a person’s brain activity is as unique as a fingerprint and that it can be used to identify a person with 99 percent accuracy. HCP data has also enabled researchers to use a brain scan to predict how a person will perform on an intelligence test and during a memory or reading task. “This may be a bit scary,” admitted Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, during introductory remarks at the symposium.”

What will Justice Kennedy say?