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.