Monday, June 24, 2013

Supreme Court applies "strict scrutiny" to affirmative action in race-conscious admission policies

In the case Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court has ruled today that that universities may continue using race-conscious policies in admissions, but must use a strict scrutiny standard in doing so to avoid running afoul of the Equal Protection clause.
The Court sent the case back to Fifth Circuit for further review.
Bill Mears has a story for CNN here.  There is an embedded opinion PDF there.
The Supreme Court has quickly published a slip opinion here

The vote was 7-1. Justice Kagan abstained from participation.

Strict scrutiny might be met if, for example, a university was trying to educated medical students who would serve in a minority area and had no conceivable way to do so without considering race. 

The idea of race can be complicated also by the notion that not all ethnic minorities are racial.  For example, the Census Bureau allows people to classify themselves as Hispanic and white at the same time, which occurs commonly in practice.  
A USA Today opinion suggested that some universities were universally allowing African-Americans automatic credit in evaluating their SAT scores.  Not sure if this is really true.  Economic class seems much more relevant now to student performance. 

In some recent dental surgery (implants), there was a female African American dentist and a male Hispanic participating heavily in my day-long procedure.  My own experience suggests that medical schools are welcoming minorities as much as possible.  

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