In what is most likely a positive development, the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Fisher v. University of Texas, a lawsuit filed by Abigail Fisher, whose application to UT Austin was rejected in 2008.
As I explained in an article at National Review, Fisher would almost certainly have been accepted if she were black or Hispanic because of the racial discrimination policies of the University of Texas. Hundreds of colleges use the same type of “preferences” that UT Austin implemented, in which admissions officers consider an applicant’s skin color and ethnicity—an immoral and unjustified practice that was unfortunately sanctioned by the Supreme Court in 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger.
The Grutter decision written by former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was indefensible, but fortunately, O’Connor has been replaced by Justice Samuel Alito. Also, Justice Elena Kagan is recused, because she approved the filing of an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in this case that supported the university’s discriminatory admissions policy when she was still the Solicitor General at the Justice Department.
When UT’s previous discriminatory policy was thrown out by a federal appeals court in 1996, Texas implemented its “top 10 percent” rule for admissions to the state college system. That rule led to diverse enrollment at UT Austin and minority students with higher grade point averages and better retention rates. Despite that success, UT Austin re-implemented race-based admissions the day the Grutter decision was announced.
The Supreme Court’s acceptance of the Fisher case, in which lower courts upheld the race discrimination practiced by UT Austin against Fisher and other students, gives the Court the opportunity to overturn or significantly narrow the wrongly decided Grutter decision. It can finally put an end to the pernicious “preferences” (blatant racial discrimination) practiced by colleges and universities that violate fundamental principles of equal protection.
As Chief Justice John Roberts said in a 2007 case, the “way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Here’s hoping that is exactly what the Supreme Court forces Texas to do.