Affirmative racism case sent back to lower court to determine whether UT could prove there was no alternative
The Supreme Court on Monday said colleges' affirmative action plans are constitutional only if such racial preferences are the only way to achieve diversity on campuses, a decision likely to subject such programs to far more scrutiny in the future.I think UT is going to lose under this standard since their 10 percent rule already provided a diverse student body. They deserve to lose. People should be admitted on their achievements and merits and not on the color of their skin.
The 7-1 decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered the crucial swing vote on the court, particularly on issues involving race. Kennedy said the University of Texas at Austin's affirmative action plan could withstand constitutional scrutiny only if the university could prove that "no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity."
But the justices on Monday declined to answer that question. Instead, they said that a lower federal court had failed to ask the question in the first place, and sent the case back with instructions to determine whether the university could come up with evidence to meet that exacting new standard.
A decision calling into question the continued use of race in college admissions had been widely anticipated in light of the court's ruling in 2003 narrowly upholding the University of Michigan's use of racial preferences. At that time, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said such programs should be obsolete within 25 years.
Abigail Fisher didn't wait that long. Denied admission to the University of Texas in 2008, she claimed her only fault was being white. "I didn't take this sitting down," Fisher said before oral arguments last October.
"There were people in my class with lower grades who weren't in all the activities I was in who were being accepted into UT, and the only other difference between us was the color of our skin," she said in a video posted by the Project on Fair Representation, a conservative group that solicited her case. "For an institution of higher learning to act this way makes no sense to me."
The university's policy was to accept the top 10% of students from each Texas high school, which because of housing patterns produced a relatively diverse class. It then filled out its freshman class by assessing a number of factors including race – a system it said was devoid of quotas or numerical targets but was designed to achieve what it called "critical mass."