Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

College Diversity Nears Its Last Stand

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New York Times
 
ABIGAIL FISHER, a white student, says she was denied admission to the University of Texas because of her race. She sued in Federal District Court in Austin, causing Judge Sam Sparks to spend time trying to make sense of a 2003 Supreme Court decision allowing racial preferences in higher education. “I’ve read it till I’m blue in the face,” Judge Sparks said in an early hearing in Ms. Fisher’s lawsuit. But the meaning of the central concept in the decision — “this esoteric critical mass of diversity of students,” he called it — kept eluding him.
 
The 2003 Supreme Court decision he was trying to understand, Grutter v. Bollinger, had elevated the concept of “diversity” from human-resource department jargon to constitutional stature. The pursuit of diversity, a five-justice majority said, allows admissions personnel at public universities to do what the Constitution ordinarily forbids government officials to do — to sort people by race.

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