Supreme Court Reaffirms Race-Conscious Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Photo credit: LA Times
Photo credit: LA Times

The Supreme Court handed down their long-anticipated decision on Fisher v University of Texas II yesterday, eight years after Abigail Fisher (who is White) first filed suit challenging holistic review at the University of Texas. Fisher alleged that the University’s holistic admissions process, which includes race-conscious affirmative action, denied her admission to the school. The Court had previously heard Fisher’s case, and essentially punted it back to the lower courts asking them to take a second look. When the Fifth Circuit again ruled in favour of the University of Texas, the Supreme Court was once again challenged to weigh in.

There was a lot at stake with this decision in the case now known as Fisher II: a decision against the University of Texas’ admissions program could effectively dismantle affirmative action programs across the country.

But, in a 4-3 vote, the Supreme Court elected to reaffirm the Court’s earlier perspectives on affirmative action as outlined in the landmark Grutter case which first explicitly established the “compelling interest” of colleges and universities to address issues of campus diversity through the limited and narrow use of racial information.

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Obama Poised To Nominate First Asian American Supreme Court Justice?

Judge Sri Srinivasan, in a picture from his federal nomination process in 2013. (Photo Credit: Doug Mills / New York Times)
Judge Sri Srinivasan, in a picture from his federal nomination process in 2013. (Photo Credit: Doug Mills / New York Times)

Last Saturday, the nation was shocked by the sudden death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, 79, of natural causes. Scalia was well-known for his bulldog-ish attitude and his conservative, strict constructionist judicial philosophy  — although, he rejected this term, prefering “textualist” or “originalist”. Nonetheless, Scalia opposed to broad interpretations of the Constitution’s text, leaving him famously opposed to gay marriage, women’s rights, the Voting Rights Act, and affirmative action.

Scalia’s death will have immediate impact on several high-profile cases scheduled to be decided this Supreme Court session, and legal scholars at SCOTUSblog say the predicted tie votes will likely lead to reargument in the next session after a new Supreme Court Justice is appointed to fill the vacancy left with Scalia’s passing.

Meanwhile, the fight over whom President Obama will nominate to the nation’s highest court — or, even whether the Senate will obstruct these proceedings until after a new president has been inaugurated  — has already begun. Just hours after Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that Senate Republicans would refuse to confirm any person nominated by President Obama to the Supreme Court.

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43 Years after Roe v. Wade, Reproductive Rights Still Matter to AAPIs | #Roe43

I wore a lot of pink and stood on a street corner and chanted for an hour today. (Photo credit: Jenn / Reappropriate)
I #StandWithPP. (Photo credit: Jenn / Reappropriate)

43 years ago today, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that would serve as an important foundation principle for the establishment of reproductive rights for women. In a 7-2 decision, the Justices ruled that the government had no right to interfere with a woman’s decision to seek (or not seek) an abortion for non-medical reasons; this choice, they declared, was protected by our constitutional right to privacy.

Since then, Roe v. Wade has had an incredible impact on women, enabling an unprecedented social, political and economic mobility for women in general.

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Reappropriate Joins AANHPI Organizations in Filing as SCOTUS Amici for Affirmative Action | #Edu4All

aaaj-notyourwedge

Three national Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander civil rights organizations filed separate amicus briefs today in support of affirmative action; the briefs were filed in relation to the upcoming Fisher v. University of Texas case scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court on December 9th.

In addition to briefs filed by the Asian American Legal Defense Fund (AALDEF) and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the brief filed by Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ) was signed by over 160 national AANHPI groups and individuals, including by this blog. Other signatories hail from all parts of the AANHPI diaspora, in terms of ethnicity, gender and group focus.

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