Posts Tagged ‘students’

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]

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.


*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

Congratulations to the 2012-2013 Editorial Board and Staff Members

September 6th, 2012 No comments

The Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race is pleased to announce the new Senior Managing Editor on the Harrisburg Campus and the new staff members for the 2012-2013 academic year.  The incoming elected board member and staff members are as follows:

Harrisburg Editorial Board

Jesse Rhodeside (Senior Managing Editor) (HSG)

Staff Members

Bruce Owens (DE)

Jay Patel (DE)

Alexandria MacMaster (DE)

Brittany McCants (DE)

Kayla Butz (HSG)

Christopher King (HSG)

Melissa Chapaska (HSG)

The current 2012-2013 board members would like to send their congratulations and best wishes to the new Harrisburg board member and this year’s new staff members!

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.


Inner-City School District Facing Potential Closure in the Midst of Financial Woes

April 11th, 2012 No comments

Written by:  Patrick Gallo

The Chester Upland School District is a midsized, urban public school district that has one of the highest student poverty rates in Pennsylvania. Under the guidance of their newly elected school board, the Chester Upland School District is in the midst of a financial meltdown. The meltdown stems from a growing charter school population, stiff budget cuts, and a limited tax base. Continually injecting funds, however, will not solve the greater issue of addressing Chester Upland’s failing educational system as demonstrated by the fact that the Chester Upland School District ranks sixth out of the fifteen Delaware County schools in per pupil spending, but last in PSSA scores.

Nevertheless, Chester Upland will at least have a few more months to address its ubiquitous educational concerns courtesy of a Federal judge’s order for the state to pay $3.2 million to the District. The $3.2 million, however, will only serve as a “band-aid,” as there is no long-term solution to fix the District’s financial difficulties. It will be interesting to see if the state will continually fund Chester-Upland or allow it to flounder and eventually dissolve.  In the event Chester-Upland is no longer able to keep its doors open, the state will have to determine whether to redraw district lines or test whether or not the Supreme Court is willing to extend its segregation ruling in Milliken v. Bradley in which it held that an interdistrict remedy cannot be used to solve an intradistrict problem.

Links of relevance:

Is there a solution for Chester Upland’s problems?

Plan outlines aid for troubled Chester Upland School District

Pa. offers plan to keep Chester Upland district afloat through end of school year

Federal Court Holds Onto School Funding Dispute

Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974).

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Congratulations to the New 2012-2013 Editorial Board!

April 6th, 2012 No comments

The Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race is pleased to announce the new editorial board for the 2012-2013 academic year.  The incoming elected board members are as follows:

Peter A. Galick – Co-Editor-in-Chief (DE)

Vacant – Co-Editor-in-Chief (HSB)

Scott F. Frame – Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Jade Morrison – External Managing Editor

Megan A. Hunsicker – Internal Managing Editor

Kevin P. Diduch – Research & Bluebook Editor

Staci J. Pesin – Senior Managing Editor

Sara Horatius – Web & Technology Editor

The current 2011-2012 board members would like to send their congratulations and best wishes to the new board and next year’s staff!