The Road From Fisher

Fisher v. University of Texas was the most eagerly (or anxiously) anticipated Supreme Court case of the last several years. Opponents of affirmative action hoped (and supporters feared) that it would, finally, fire a silver bullet into the heart of racial preference policies.

It did not, but what it did do (if anything) has been debated about as hotly as what it should have done. A number of essays on a SCOTUSblog symposium reflect the ambiguity: “If you (the Court) choose not to decide, you have still made a choice (at least for now),” “Fisher’s big news: No big news,” “In with a bang, out with a fizzle.” The most optimistic response, from point of view of the opponents of racial preference, was a tepid two cheers from Roger Clegg, “Better off than we were a year ago.”

Now comes Edward Blum and his Project on Fair Representation, the force behind (and in Blum, attorney for) Abigail Fisher’s lawsuit, determined to prove Clegg correct. In a press release issued today [April 7], POFR announced a new litigation effort, building on Fisher, targeting Harvard, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Wisconsin. “The Supreme Court last year imposed incredibly high hurdles colleges must overcome when using racial and ethnic preferences in their admissions policies,” Blum stated. “We believe all of these schools are breaking the law.”

POFR believes that thousands of applicants to these universities have been unfairly and unconstitutionally denied admission because none are following the legal principles enshrined in the Fisher opinion and the Supreme Court’s decisions dating back to Brown v. Board of Education. Specifically, the Supreme Court wrote that colleges are bound to use “strict scrutiny” in the manner they give preferences to applicants by skin color and ethnic heritage….

POFR believes that Harvard University, specifically, is discriminating against Asian-American students by using a “quota” or “ceiling” to limit their admission to the university.

As the first stage of what it anticipates will lead to litigation, POFR announced the creation of three websites: HARVARDnotFair.org; UNCnotFair.org; and UWnotFair.org.

Blum, POFR’s director, invited

any student who was rejected by one of these universities to visit the new websites to learn more about what can be done to end these practices. We encourage any person with first-hand knowledge about these universities’ use of race in admission practices and policies to come forward as well.

Once again opponents of affirmative action hope (and supporters fear) that the efforts of Blum and the Project On Fair Representation will produce that long-awaited preference-slaying silver bullet.

John S. Rosenberg

John Rosenberg blogs at Discriminations.

One thought on “The Road From Fisher

  1. I applaud this effort, but I wish the name were different. Project on Fair Representation seems to adopt the leftist groupthink concept that individual students are in college to “represent” some group they fit into — racial, ethnic, gender, sexual preference, or any other group that has managed to get itself labeled as “protected.”
    Each student is an individual, not a representative for some group. We need to get away from this collectivist thinking.

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