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US Supreme Court Tackles Affirmative Action

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US Supreme Court Tackles Affirmative Action

Postby pjbogart » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:11 pm

I put this in the national politics section because it seems that opinions on affirmative action largely fall upon party lines. The Supreme Court is hardly bucking this trend, with justices falling into place along party lines and leaving Justice Kennedy, once again, as the deciding justice. Elena Kagan (take note, conservatives!) has recused herself, having been involved in the case as Solicitor General.

Plaintiff Abigail Fisher did not meet the automatic enrollment criteria for admission to the University of Texas. As such, she falls into the class of 10% of applicants who are admitted on a case by case basis. The University of Texas contends that diversity, racial and otherwise, is beneficial to a student's educational experience so minority status is considered relevant when deciding which students to admit. Plaintiff contends that such consideration violates her constitutional rights, effectively discriminating against her on the basis of her race.

Justices Clash Over Affirmative Action

I've long been under the impression that part of the affirmative action debate is based upon the notion that minority students start out disadvantaged, often attending schools that are less equipped to provide them with the educational opportunities that many white students have. Put another way, I scored a 30 on my ACT in 1989, a very respectable score, but I attended a school which offered me a great deal of opportunity to achieve that score, including lab facilities, computers and top-notch teachers. If a kid at Milwaukee King scored a 28 on his ACT I would say he was probably more qualified than myself because he achieved that score under conditions which made it much more difficult.

Is that an unfair consideration or am I confusing the issues, since many minority students may also come from suburban schools and have the same opportunities? Under those circumstances, race would be the only difference between us.
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Re: US Supreme Court Tackles Affirmative Action

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:26 pm

I'm not sure Milwaukee King in '89 is a good example for your point, but it does bring up the issue, does a white student at King currently, have a better chance to get an education and be prepared for college than a black student at say Pius?


More important to me is that UT's stated goal isn't so much to give opportunities to minorities, but to create "diversity, racial and otherwise" which they feel is "beneficial to a student's educational experience". It would seem based on this that they really aren't practicing affirmative action, but rather engineering an environment to create the experience they want students to have.
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Re: US Supreme Court Tackles Affirmative Action

Postby snoqueen » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:25 pm

I've got a feeling affirmative action as a whole is doomed, given the political makeup of the country and the courts at this time and the fact angry white people, who will very shortly be a minority, have to be dragged kicking and screaming into what might someday be an integrated society.

The question is, if I'm right, what other mechanisms exist (or can be created) to help people from crummy schools, with no money, to move up and not stay stuck in some permanent underclass (which a cynic would say is the goal of the anti-affirmative action crowd)? Is it time to aim assistance at those with no money and a disadvantaged background, regardless of race/ethnicity? Poor whites who are first-generation in higher education might legitimately be asking for a leg up, same as any other first-generation group striving to lift themselves out of a poverty pattern.

Affirmative action has unquestionably done a lot of good, and the general principle of helping those who are starting way back in the pack is worthy. We can't abandon the whole principle.
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