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Court Upholds Racial Preferences in Texas

You can’t win ’em all. Racial neutrality in government is not, sadly, the law of the land.

To get around an explicit use of race in admissions, Texas came up with the Ten Percent plan. Students graduating from a Texas high school in the top ten percent of their class, regardless of the curriculum’s rigor or lack thereof, are guaranteed admission to any state school.

Abigail Fisher and Rachel Michalewicz claimed that the University of Texas at Austin (UT) denied them admission but admitted minority applicants with lower grades and scores. They sued. The district court granted summary judgment in UT’s favor, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Circuit failed to apply a strict scrutiny standard of review and sent the case back.

Yesterday, two of three Fifth Circuit judges voted to uphold UT’s racial preferences policy. The court based its reasoning on the Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), which held that schools could consider race as a “plus” factor.

In companion case Gratz v. Bollinger (2003), the court struck down the University of Michigan’s points-for-race admissions system.

“This has led universities to hide race-based decisions behind a supposedly holistic review process,” Jennifer Gratz told Politico. “In reality they are the same discriminatory policies with even less transparency. Citizens deserve to have clarity when it comes to whether or not universities are holding their skin color against them.”

Some Americans don’t believe our government should be race-neutral…at least when black Americans “benefit” from the racial bean-counting. The NAACP’s Sherrilyn Ifill said the decision “should stand as a declaration of the ongoing importance and legality of affirmative action efforts that holistically evaluate applicants for admission in higher education and for the principle of stare decisis.”

Double-edged sword…

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