U.S. Supreme Court Mulls Constitutionality of Race Quotas
by Judy Kent
Washington, DC - On Tuesday, October 10, at approximately 1:00 PM eastern, justices on the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Should the justices overturn 2003's Grutter ruling that determined that campus diversity is a "compelling state interest" by finding the university's admissions process unconstitutional, it will set a major precedent outlawing affirmative action.
Black conservatives with the Project 21 leadership network urge the Court to rule in favor of colorblind admissions policies. The group joined an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court on Fisher's behalf written by the Pacific Legal Foundation.
"My father was able to integrate the University of Mississippi 50 years ago this month because he had academically earned his place among the student body," said Project 21 spokesman John Meredith, the son of civil rights icon James Meredith. "It is unconscionable that an institution of higher learning in America today would be forced to admit candidates who have not earned their place among the student body. I look forward to the Court ending any practice that would force a school to admit anyone other than the best academic candidate."
"Call it 'holistic.' Call it 'case by case.' Call it whatever you want, but using race as a basis for admissions to college is wrong. It is finally time for this policy to come to an end," said Project 21 spokesman Horace Cooper. "It's the 21st century, and it's well past time we acknowledge Dr. Martin Luther King's colorblind vision as a reality in America today." Cooper taught constitutional law at George Mason University in Virginia and was a senior counsel to U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
White plaintiff Abigail Fisher claims racial preferences caused her 2008 admissions application to be rejected in favor of a lesser-qualified minority candidate. After race-based admissions were outlawed in Texas in 1996 by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Hopwood decision, the U.S. Supreme Court cited a "compelling state interest" for classroom diversity in 2003 in its ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger. UT officials announced the re-introduction of racial considerations in the application process immediately thereafter.
The Pacific Legal Foundation amicus curiae brief joined by Project 21 was named by The Weekly Standard as "the most persuasive overall" of over 17 amicus briefs filed with the court for Fisher and against race preferences.
The brief notes, "Diversity cannot be viewed in a vacuum as an abstract good; constitutional scrutiny arises because of the means -- racial classifications -- that are being used to achieve the end... Unlike remedying past intentional discrimination, which has its roots in the historical evils of the slave trade, slavery and Jim Crow, the benefits flowing from a diverse student body was an invention of politically interested social scientists."