Supreme Court Receives Outpouring of Conflicting Views on Affirmative Action
Gail Heriot and two other members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights would like the Supreme Court to know that new research indicates that race-preferential admissions to America’s top universities are hurting those they are supposed to help.
“If this research is right, we now have fewer minority science and engineering graduates than we would have under race neutral admissions policies,” Heriot said in an amicus brief filed along with fellow commissioners Peter Kirsanow and Todd Gaziano.
Supreme Court returns from summer recess: Hopefuls line up to see the justices’ first hearings of the new session.
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The American Educational Research Association would like the Supreme Court to know that Heriot and her fellow conservatives on the commission have it all wrong.
“Research continues to show that student body diversity leads to important educational benefits,” the group, along with other research associations, said in its amicus brief to the court.
Claims to the contrary are “unsupported suppositions that numerous researchers have called into question,” the brief said.
By the time the Supreme Court on Wednesday hears oral arguments about the University of Texas’s limited consideration of race in some admission decisions, the justices and their clerks will have plowed through 92 “friend of the court” briefs filed in Fisher v. University of Texas.
Abigail Noel Fisher, who is white, says the university’s policy resulted in African American and Hispanic students with lesser credentials being admitted to UT in 2008 while she was denied. UT says race is just one of many characteristics it considers in a “holistic” review of some applicants to build a diverse class, as governed by past Supreme Court decisions.
The outpouring of amicus briefs — 73 on behalf of UT, the rest supporting Fisher or opposition to affirmative action — signals the importance of the case. But it also reflects a trend at the court