Supreme Court Case on Use of Race in Admissions Could Be Landmark

By Richey, Warren | The Christian Science Monitor, October 9, 2012 | Go to article overview

Supreme Court Case on Use of Race in Admissions Could Be Landmark


Richey, Warren, The Christian Science Monitor


The US Supreme Court on Wednesday is set to take up a potential landmark case examining whether a public university may use race as a factor to select new students, even after the university has achieved significant student diversity using race-neutral admissions methods.

The case, Fisher v. University of Texas, embroils the high court in a contentious debate that divides the country and the Supreme Court itself.

The case has prompted the filing of 73 friend-of-the-court briefs from military leaders, major US businesses, 14 states, a group of senators, civil rights groups, education organizations, and a collection of basketball coaches all urging the justices to uphold the use of race in college admissions.

On the other side, 17 friend-of-the-court briefs were filed by an array of conservative public interest organizations and groups of scholars.

At issue is when it is appropriate to use ethnicity or skin color to boost enrollment by minority students at a highly selective university.

The University of Texas (UT) at Austin uses a race-neutral mechanism to select 75 percent of its entering freshman class. The process yields class-wide minority enrollment of roughly 20 percent, making it among the most diverse of the nations elite universities.

Nonetheless, admissions officials also rely on a second selection process to pick the remaining 25 percent of students. That process includes race as a selection criterion among several other factors.

The question in the case is whether under those circumstances the University of Texass use of race is justified.

The race-conscious plan is being challenged by a white student, Abigail Fisher, who claims she was denied admission to Texas so that African-American and Latino students, who she says were less qualified, could be admitted.

Ms. Fishers lawyers argue that the school engaged in government- sponsored racial discrimination in violation of Fishers constitutional right to equal protection.

UT should not be permitted to employ gratuitous racial preferences when a race-neutral policy has resulted in over one- fifth of university entrants being African-American or Hispanic, Washington lawyer Bert Rein wrote in his brief on behalf of Fisher.

Lawyers for the university deny that school officials engage in racial discrimination. They say consideration of a students race is part of a holistic review process that also considers leadership potential, extracurricular activities, work experience, community service, and various components of socioeconomic status.

Consideration of race helps admissions officers understand prospective students in their totality, but race alone does not decide the final outcome, they say.

"Consistent with the holistic and modest way in which race is considered, it is impossible to tell whether an applicants race was a tipping factor for any given admit, Washington lawyer Gregory Garre wrote in his brief on behalf of the university.

Under Supreme Court precedents, officials who use race as a criterion to distribute government benefits (like admission to a highly selective state university) must demonstrate that the use of race is necessary to advance a compelling interest. They must also prove that the means used to achieve that interest were narrowly tailored.

Since the mid-1990s, Texas state law has required the university to admit the top 8 to 10 percent of graduates at each high school in the state. The admissions program was designed to create a race- neutral means to foster a diverse student body at UT.

Ironically, the program relies on racially-segregated housing patterns in the state and associated racially-segregated community schools to assemble a diverse freshman class. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Supreme Court Case on Use of Race in Admissions Could Be Landmark
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.