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Posts Tagged ‘Affirmative Action’

Affirmative Action Programs in Colleges and Universities

November 5th, 2012 No comments

Blog Category: Affirmative Action

Written by: *Staci Pesin

As Law Students, we have all taken Constitutional law in law school, and if not you will shortly.  For those of you who have taken Constitutional law, we should all be familiar with these most recognized cases: Roe v. Wade, Brown v. Board of Education, and Marbury v. Madison. However, there is a case that you might not be familiar with, the case of Grutter v. Bollinger, which was an affirmative action case.  In 2003, the Supreme Court held in Grutter v. Bollinger  that the University of Michigan was allowed to use an affirmative action based admission policy in the interest of promoting diversity at their school.

Nine years later, the Supreme Court has decided to hear another affirmative action case.  This case took place in Texas. A Caucasian student alleged that the University of Texas denied her admission because of her race and that the school gives preferential treatment to African American and Latino applicants.  The University of Texas has a race-based admission plan where it admits the top ten percent of high school students. With many high schools in Texas heavily made up of minority students, racial diversity has increased at the university.  In addition, The University of Texas also has a class-based program for economically disadvantaged students, which has also increased racial diversity at the university.

Carolyn Warner, a student writer for The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, suggests that it is time to end race-based affirmative action but notes that racial diversity in schools is a compelling government goal.  She suggests we focus on fixing the class gap which would help bridge the racial gap.  Studies have shown that affirmative action programs based on race help the economically advantaged and the author suggests that with class-based affirmative action we will be helping the economically disadvantaged as well as minorities.  Her ultimate goal is certainly noble, however fixing the class gap is not going to happen overnight.

 

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

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*Staci Pesin is currently the Senior Managing Editor on the Delaware Campus. To learn more about Staci Pesin, click here to view her personal page: Staci Pesin
Article written by Carolyn Warner, Student Writer for The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice See:  http://blogs.law.uiowa.edu/jgrj/?p=797  to read the full article.

Fisher v. University of Texas: An Objective Analysis

October 29th, 2012 No comments

Blog Category: Affirmative Action

Written by: *Jay S. Patel

The use of race in admissions has been hotly debated; proponents extolling its use to create diverse student bodies, critics denouncing it as a form of “reverse discrimination”. Recognizing these competing objectives, the Supreme Court has continually balanced the appropriateness of affirmative action policies against the weighty interests of equal protection.

Equal Protection and Affirmative Action
Equal protection generally forbids the government from treating citizens in an unequal manner. [1]  If a state or the federal government attempts to treat citizens in an unequal manner, their conduct will be reviewed under three different governing standards. Because affirmative action necessarily involves race, any policy purporting to use race is reviewed under the most rigorous standard: strict scrutiny. [2]  Strict scrutiny analysis bars the use of race unless its inclusion furthers a legitimate and compelling governmental interest and the use of race in the policy is narrowly tailored to that end. [3]  Supreme Court jurisprudence has also added two limitations in affirmative action cases. University officials can only use race as a plus factor, that is, they can view an applicant’s race in light of their entire application. [4]  Additionally, officials cannot assign specific “points” for an applicant’s race, or set aside a fixed number of seats for minority applicants. [5]

University of Texas Plan: Proper or Improper?
The University of Texas plan is proper under Grutter. Provided the Supreme Court does not overrule Bakke and its progeny, the University of Texas plan passes constitutional muster. The University of Texas demonstrated that after the passage of the “Top Ten” law, minority enrollment dropped to levels not seen since the mid 1990’s.[6]  Given the increases in the minority population in Texas in the interim, the state demonstrated a compelling interest in creating a diverse class that provided benefits for all matriculants.[7]  Their interest was legitimate by Grutter’s prescription.  Grutter asked whether a contested program was narrowly tailored to achieve an overall goal: a rich, vibrant and diverse class of matriculants.[8]  On this, it was successful. The program did not set aside seats for minority students, nor did it award special “points” to minority applicants.[9]  Its use of race was nominal and only one of many factors which was considered in a methodical and precise formula designed to admit the top students.[10]

Conclusion
Under the rigorous standard set forth by the Supreme Court in equal protection cases, and the special factors prescribed to govern affirmative action policies, the University of Texas policy should be upheld as proper under Grutter.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

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*Jay S. Patel is currently a staff member on the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. To learn more about Jay S. Patel click the link to visit his personal page: Jay S. Patel
[1] See Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306, 326 (2003); U.S. Const. amend XIV, § 1.
[2] Grutter, 539 U.S. at 326.
[3] Id. (emphasis supplied).
[4] Id. at 334 (quoting Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 315 (1978) (opinion of Powell, J.)
[5] See Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244, 270 (2003).
[6] Brief of Respondent at 10, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, No. 11-345 (2012).
[7] Id.
[8] Grutter, 539 U.S. at 328.
[9] Brief of Petitioner, supra note 6, at 11.
[10] Id. at 11-14 (relaying in significant depth the methods employed to judge applicants and noting the minimal use and impact of race in admissions).

The Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race 2012 Fall Semester Blogs

October 28th, 2012 No comments

The Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race would like to announce its 2012 Fall semester blogs.

This semester, the blogs will focus on four central topics:

1) Immigration, 2) Affirmative Action, 3) Race and Economics in the Media and 4) The Economics of Discrimination.

New blog entries will be added every week, up until finals so that we can keep the Widener Community informed about these important topics. The blogs can be accessed by clicking the blogs & posts link.

Thank you once again for all of your support.

 

Sara Horatius, Web & Technology Editor

Kept Promises? Grutter & Diversity

April 12th, 2012 No comments

Written by: Stephen Mahan

When the Grutter decision upheld affirmative action at the University of Michigan Law School, many commentators hailed it as a step forward in race-relations.  Our own law school, Widener, has taken steps to further encourage and foster diversity within its halls, in the hopes of obtaining those educational benefits associated with diversity, by appointing its own “Multicultural Affairs Officer.”  (Link to announcement.)  Meera E. Deo, of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law has recently written on Grutter’s actual effects on race-relations in the law school classroom.  See Meera E. Deo, The Promise of Grutter: Diverse Interactions at the University of Michigan Law School, 17 Mich. J. Race & L. 63 (2011).  (Link to article.)  But a different type of survey might better reveal how race-relations in the legal profession have advanced since Grutter – a survey of more recent minority graduates and their experiences in the job hunt.  It has been some years since Justice Clarence Thomas graduated, when “Yale meant one thing for white graduates and another for blacks, no matter how much anyone denied it.”  Clarence Thomas, My Grandfather’s Son 99 (2007) quoted in Jeffrey Toobin, The Thomases vs. Obama’s Health Care Plan, The New Yorker, August 29, 2011.  (Link to article.)  But, to borrow a phrase from Justice Thomas, has the “taint of racial preference” – that “You only got into U of M because you’re a minority” – yet dissipated?

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

 

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Case on the Use of Affirmative Action in the College Admissions Process

March 12th, 2012 No comments

Written by:  Brandi C. Everett

On February 21, 2012, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving the use of affirmative action in the college admissions process.  The case, Fisher v. Texas, No. 11-345, began when a white woman sued the University of Texas after being denied admission allegedly because of her race.  The Fisher case brings the issue of affirmative action in the college admissions process back in front of the Supreme Court after their 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger.  The Grutter decision allowed colleges to take race into account when making admissions decisions.

The issue of affirmative action is highly debated, with many people having a wide range of opinions on the matter.  While opinions may differ. . . one thing is clear:  in the states that have chosen not to consider race when admitting students there are a lower number of minority students who are accepted into those states’ public universities (click on the link to the New York Times article provided below for a list of such states).  One may argue that minority students would be admitted to those institutions if they performed better academically.  This may be true, however, minority students are faced with economic disadvantages (including the unavailability of quality education) that a lot of their white counterparts are fortunate enough to not have to deal with.  Affirmative action simply levels the playing field for minority students.  The reality is that affirmative action is the only way diversity can be achieved in many colleges. Not allowing colleges to take race into consideration could do more harm than good for minority students and for the college experience as a whole.

For more about Fisher v. Texas, No. 11-345, please follow the links below:

http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/fisher-v-university-of-texas-at-austin/

http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/11-345.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/us/justices-to-hear-case-on-affirmative-action-in-higher-education.html?ref=education

http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/21/10466979-affirmative-action-in-college-admissions-supreme-court-to-hear-case

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

Professor Starla Williams, “The Future of Affirmative Action”

March 13th, 2009 No comments

On February 23, 2009, Professor Starla Williams, Legal Methods Professor of the Widener Law Harrisburg campus, appeared on Radio Smart Talk to discuss the future of affirmative action in the United States.

Read more and listen at witf.org.

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