Supreme Court

The Fisher Decision: Not Good News, But…

The Supreme Court today upheld the University of Texas’s use of racial preferences in student admissions.  The vote was 4-3, with Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion, joined by Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor (Justice Kagan was recused).  Justice Alito write a powerful, 51-page dissent, which he read from the bench. Needless to say, for […]

Read More

Fulbright Pushes Diversity Courts Don’t Allow

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that “Fulbright Seeks More Diverse Pool of Scholars and Students.” What it doesn’t report is why. Fulbright, of course, does not really want a more diverse “pool.” What it wants is more minorities (presumably not including Asians) actually awarded grants. But the only reason given for its efforts to […]

Read More

Will the Supreme Court Stop Racial Preferences?

Today the Supreme Court hears arguments in round two of Fisher v. Texas. Abigail Fisher, you will recall, claimed (and still claims) that the University of Texas’s admission preferences for blacks and Hispanics amounted to racial discrimination against her because she is white. In round one the Supremes almost agreed but instead vacated and remanded […]

Read More

Fisher II: A Mystery Solved While Asians Get Their Voice

Many legal experts were surprised in June of 2013 when the U.S Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited decision in the University of Texas affirmative action case, Fisher v. Texas. The mere fact that the Court had taken up the case when it could easily have declared it moot indicated to many that at least […]

Read More

Why Size Matters in College Preferences

By Stuart Taylor, Jr. and Richard Sander Even for people who approve in principle of some use of racial preferences in university admissions — notably including Justice Anthony Kennedy — the size of the preferences, and of the resulting racial gaps in academic performance in college and beyond, should matter a great deal.  So it’s […]

Read More

We Don’t Need a Different “Affirmative Action”

On the day the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fisher v. Texas, a case challenging racial preferences in college admissions, the Wall Street Journal published a piece purporting to give “A Liberal Critique of Racial Preferences.” Author Richard Kahlenberg argued (as he almost always does) in favor of changing “affirmative action” to a system […]

Read More

Justice Kennedy and Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court holds oral arguments tomorrow in Fisher v. Texas, possibly the most consequential case in years involving affirmative action. Many of us critics of racial preferences are optimistic that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the likely swing vote, will agree to modify if not overrule Justice O’Connor’s ruling in the 2003 Grutter case, which, in […]

Read More

Fisher and “Diversity”: The More Things Change…

Browsing through the collection of over 70 pro-“diversity” amicus briefs submitted on behalf of the University of Texas in the Fisher case, I am reminded, as I often am, of how eerily the current defense of “taking race into account,” i.e., preferential treatment based on race, resembles the old Southern arguments in defense of segregation. […]

Read More

An Unusual Brief Could Tip the Fisher Case

Stuart Taylor and Richard Sander have filed a fascinating amicus brief in the Fisher case, hoping to bring some of the relevant social science research to the attention of the Court, and (they fervently hope)–to break through the closed-minded atmosphere through which most colleges consider “diversity” issues. Taylor’s and Sander’s arguments doubtless won’t persuade racial […]

Read More

Could “Diversity” Become Mandatory?

Those of us who were disappointed when a divided Supreme Court upheld the distribution of burdens and benefits based on race in Grutter are hopeful that decision might be overturned — or that at least its most deleterious effects might be reined in — when the Court revisits affirmative action next fall in Fisher v. […]

Read More

Stereotype Threat Coming to the Supreme Court

Get ready for a brand new defense of affirmative action that you’ve never heard before: preferences are necessary to assure selection by merit. How can that be? Simple. Just rework Claude Steele’s theory of stereotype threat–that minorities do less well on tests than their abilities warrant out of fear that their performance will confirm negative […]

Read More

Texas Finds That Discrimination Isn’t Cheap

Inside Higher Ed reports this morning that the University of Texas has hired a big Los Angeles-based law firm, Latham and Watkins, to defend its race-based admission policy before the Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas, which the Supreme Court will hear next fall. “The law firm, with extensive Supreme Court expertise, will […]

Read More

“Diversity” Takes More Lumps

“Diversity,” as everyone surely knows by now, is the sole remaining justification for racial preference in higher education allowed by the Supreme Court. Defenders seem to regard it as even more essential to a good education than books in the library or professors behind the podium. But a funny thing has been happening on the […]

Read More

The “Mismatch Thesis,” Eye-Opening Research, and the Fisher Case

As the most important higher-education case in a decade makes its way to the Supreme Court–the Fisher case on racial preferences–UCLA law professor Richard Sander had an excellent series of posts at the Volokh Conspiracy summarizing one critical argument that his research has helped to highlight: that even the ostensible beneficiaries often are harmed (or […]

Read More

The Anger of Affirmative Action Advocates

Kevin Carey, policy director at Education Sector, a DC think tank, has a commentary in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education that signals the kind of rhetoric we may expect from proponents of affirmative action as the Fisher case heads to the Supreme Court. It is a mixture of high-mindedness for one side and denunciation […]

Read More

Admission Standards and How to Lower Them Legally

Surprise, surprise. Affirmation action for college admissions is yet one more time in the hands of the Supreme Court (Fisher v. Texas). Given the Court’s changed personnel from the last go around (Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 2003), race-based preferences may soon be history. But, would this judicial outcome finally doom preferences? Opponents of […]

Read More

What Will the Court Do About Affirmative Action?

As you probably know by now, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Fisher v. Texas, depending on your point of view a promising or threatening challenge to affirmative action. Major and minor media, blogs, whatever, are all filled with cries of hope or wails of fear that the racial preferences sanctified in Grutter will […]

Read More

Perpetuity Isn’t Forever (If “Construed Liberally”)

Most people believe that “in perpetuity” means forever, or at least until hell freezes over. But not the University of California at Los Angeles, which is now proceeding to sell a Japanese garden that it had accepted as a gift after promising to keep and maintain it “in perpetuity.” How, you may well ask, can they […]

Read More

Ex-Justice: Civil Rights Act ‘Poorly Considered’

When Justice John Paul Stevens retired from the Supreme Court in 2010 ABC News noted that over the course of his 34 years on the Court he “became a hero to liberals[,]  voting to … uphold affirmative action” and other liberal causes. Now he has written an autobiography, Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir, ruminating […]

Read More

Is the Court Changing Its Stand on Religious Freedom?

On June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States narrowly ruled in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez that a university’s “all-comers” nondiscrimination policy trumped the right of a Christian student organization to select its leaders according to the group’s religious beliefs.   According to the Supreme Court, a Christian student group confronted with […]

Read More

A Major Brief Against Preferences

Stuart Taylor, my colleague from the lacrosse case, and UCLA Law School professor Richard Sander, have filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to hear Fisher v. University of Texas, the University of Texas racial preferences case. Hopefully the brief will achieve its purpose; it certainly presents a compelling indictment of the racial preferences structure […]

Read More

Campus Diversity: Taking Allport Seriously

Some key questions are rarely asked about the success or failure of affirmative action programs on college campuses.  Among them are: Does ignorance foster negative racial stereotyping?  Does the greater opportunity for contact between people of diverse races and ethnicities brought about by “race-sensitive admissions” help prejudiced whites overcome their prejudice against blacks and other […]

Read More

Two Campus Free-Speech Cases Aimed at the Supreme Court

If you care about free speech on college campuses, there could hardly be a more sympathetic figure than Jonathan Lopez.  A  student at Los Angeles City College (LACC) in 2008,  when California voters  rejected Proposition 8 , he was one of the first victims of the rage of gay-rights advocates and their academic allies: a […]

Read More

Judge Garza’s Insights

Below, my colleague Charlotte Allen appropriately laments the recent 5th Circuit decision upholding the University of Texas’ racial preferences scheme, in the process expanding the scope of Grutter. She also praises the de facto dissent of Judge Emilio Garza. Garza’s opinion is worth reading in full, if only because it represents a rare instance of […]

Read More

More Wreckage from Ginsburg’s ‘Neutral’ Ruling

When the Supreme Court ruled in June that public universities could deny official recognition to a Christian student group that barred openly gay people as members because homosexual acts are considered sinful by many Christian churches, some commentators hoped that the 5-4 ruling would be construed as a narrow one that permitted but did not […]

Read More