Posts Tagged ‘supreme court’

Court punts but affirmative action on the ropes

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

(USAToday) The Supreme Court, by a 7-1 vote, correctly slapped down the lower court for deferring to the University of Texas regarding the use of race in college admissions. It punted, however, on the larger question of whether that use of race is constitutional, instead instructing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to reconsider the issue under a less deferential standard of review.

That is, the lower court accepted the Supreme Court's 2003 ruling that using race as one factor, but not if race is tied to a set number of points or quotas, could be justified in the name of diversity. But it erred, the Supreme Court said, in not subjecting UT-Austin's admissions process to what lawyers call "strict scrutiny."

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A post-racial US? In era of Obama, Supreme Court may nullify civil rights policies as outdated

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

 

(StarTribune Op-Ed) Has the nation lived down its history of racism and should the law become colorblind?

Addressing two pivotal legal issues, one on affirmative action and a second on voting rights, a divided Supreme Court is poised to answer those questions.

In one case, the issue is whether race preferences in university admissions undermine equal opportunity more than they promote the benefits of racial diversity. Just this past week, justices signaled their interest in scrutinizing affirmative action very intensely, expanding their review as well to a Michigan law passed by voters that bars "preferential treatment" to students based on race. Separately in a second case, the court must decide whether race relations — in the South, particularly — have improved to the point that federal laws protecting minority voting rights are no longer warranted.

The questions are apt as the United States closes in on a demographic tipping point, when nonwhites will become a majority of the nation's population for the first time. That dramatic shift is expected to be reached within the next generation, and how the Supreme Court rules could go a long way in determining what civil rights and equality mean in an America long divided by race.

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The White Student Suing to Overthrow Affirmative Action Was Too Dumb to Get Into Her Chosen College

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

 

(Gawker.com) Life is tough for white people in America. A few hundred years of presumed superiority have left many of them psychologically unable to deal with failure, trapped in a cycle of victimhood where their own shortcomings can only be understood as evidence of persecution against them. So we have Abigail Fisher, 23 years old, and the plaintiff in Fisher v. University of Texas, which is currently being weighed by the Supreme Court.

Fisher, who is white, is suing the university because—well, because the full-time crusaders against affirmative action asked her to. But her ostensible complaint is that she applied to go to the University of Texas at Austin but didn't get in, while some students who are not white did get in, under the university's system of weighing "personal circumstances," including poverty and race, in some of its admissions. Ergo, under the logic of anti-reverse racism, some undeserving minority student took her spot.

But this week, Pro Publica published a look into the actual circumstances surrounding University of Texas admissions when Fisher applied. And that the reason Fisher didn't get in was that she wasn't qualified.

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The Leading Liberal Against Affirmative Action

Monday, March 18th, 2013

 

(Economix) My Capital Ideas column this week looks at liberals who would see some upsides if the Supreme Court made substantial changes to affirmative-action programs. The justices heard arguments in such a case in October — Fisher v. the University of Texas — and are expected to issue their decision between March 18 and late June.

Perhaps the most prominent self-described progressive with doubts about the current version of affirmative action is Richard D. Kahlenberg, of the Century Foundation. Mr. Kahlenberg argues that a race-focused version of affirmative action can be unfair, is inconsistent with many of the program’s original goals and has lost the support of the public. Today’s affirmative action, he says, helps perpetuate privilege, by helping to fill elite-college campuses with an ethnically diverse mix of affluent students.

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Sotomayor: Affirmative action changed my life

Monday, January 14th, 2013

(CBS News) Sonia Sotomayor was appointed four years ago by President Barack Obama, but she gave her first broadcast interview to "60 Minutes."

She grew up in a public housing project in the Bronx, the child of Puerto Rican immigrants.

One of the biggest cases before the court right now concerns racial preferences in college admissions, known as affirmative action.

We were curious about how she sees that, because it was a factor in how Sotomayor got into Princeton in 1972.

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‘Female Barack Obama’ Could Be The Next Supreme Court Justice

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

(Business Insider) Which Supreme Court justice will step down next?

 

Most experts believe it will be 79-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Clinton appointee and the court's oldest member, according to Bloomberg Law.

The most likely candidate to replace her is California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who's dubbed "the female Barack Obama," SCOTUSBlog's Tom Goldstein told Bloomberg.

Like Obama, Harris, 48, is a rising political star, who wrote a book and broke racial barriers. Harris was the first woman attorney general in the Golden State.

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Supreme Court Will Take New Look At Voting Rights Act

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

 

(Huffington Post) The Supreme Court said Friday it will consider eliminating the government's most potent weapon against racial discrimination at polling places since the 1960s. The court acted three days after a diverse coalition of voters propelled President Barack Obama to a second term in the White House.

With a look at affirmative action in higher education already on the agenda, the court is putting a spotlight on race by re-examining the ongoing necessity of laws and programs aimed at giving racial minorities access to major areas of American life from which they once were systematically excluded.

"This is a term in which many core pillars of civil rights and pathways to opportunity hang in the balance," said Debo Adegbile, acting president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

In an order Friday, the justices agreed to hear a constitutional challenge to the part of the landmark Voting Rights Act that requires all or parts of 16 states with a history of discrimination in voting to get federal approval before making any changes in the way they hold elections.

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Colleges’ Plan B for Diversity

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

 

(National Journal) Many colleges and universities appear to be preparing for alternative methods of increasing racial diversity on their campuses by adopting admissions policies that place more emphasis on class and income.

survey by Inside Higher Ed, which asked admissions directors about likely steps they would take if the Supreme Court prohibits them from using affirmative action in colleges and universities, showed that many favor changes to admissions policy that are race-neutral.

(RELATED: As High Court Prepares to Hear Affirmative-Action Case, Issues of Race Equality Remain.)

About 30 percent administrators said they would consider placing greater weight on first-generation status, while 20 percent said they would focus on applicants’ socioeconomic status. Another 10 percent of directors at public, four-year institutions said they favored dropping standardized test scores.

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Why the high court should back race-based college admissions

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

(Washington Post) THE SUPREME COURT will consider Wednesday its biggest affirmative action case in a decade when the justices examine the suit of Abigail Fisher, a woman denied admission to the University of Texas (UT) at Austin in 2008. Lawyers for Ms. Fisher, who is white, claim that she suffered unjustly by having to compete against African American and Hispanic applicants in a system that considers race. Ms. Fisher wants the court to deem the university’s inclusion of race in its admissions process unlawful, a request the justices should deny. The worry is that the court will use Ms. Fisher’s case to rewrite decades of precedent, with implications for nearly every campus in the country, public and private.

Nobody should be comfortable with any system that uses race as a criterion to distribute scarce opportunities, such as admission to Texas’s flagship public university. Yet, as Justice Lewis Powell wrote in 1978, the country’s future depends on exposing prospective leaders “to ideas and mores of students as diverse as this nation of many peoples.” So does the legitimacy of institutions such as UT.

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New data on affirmative action in college

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

 

(SFgate) As the Supreme Court revisits the use of race in college admissions next week, critics of affirmative action are hopeful the justices will roll back the practice – and a new report Wednesday offers a big reason for their optimism.

Evidence from at least some of the nine states that don't use affirmative action shows that leading public universities can bring meaningful diversity to their campuses through race-neutral means.

That conclusion is vigorously disputed by supporters of race-based affirmative action, including universities in states like California that cannot under state law factor race into admissions decisions.

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