Supreme Court To Hear New Affirmative Action Case

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Affirmative Action policies are under attack again.

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The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a new case, Fisher v. Texas, No. 11-345, brought by Abigail Fisher, a white student who claims she was denied admission to the University of Texas because she is white, The New York Times reports.

The top ten percent of all graduating high school seniors in Texas schools are granted automatic admission into the state’s University system. Fisher missed the cutoff, but feels a less-than-qualified student took a remaining non-automatic spot she should have received.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger: that public colleges and universities could not use a point system to boost minority enrollment but could take race into account in vaguer way to ensure academic diversity, the New York Times reports.

Here is more from The Times:

The court’s membership has changed since 2003, most notably for these purposes with the appointment of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who replaced Justice O’Connor in 2006. Justice Alito has voted with the court’s more conservative justices in decisions hostile to the use of racial classifications by the government.

“There thus seem five votes — Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito — to overrule Grutter and hold that affirmative action programs are unconstitutional,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, wrote in a recent book, “The Conservative Assault on the Constitution.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been particularly skeptical of government programs that take account of race. “Racial balancing is not transformed from ‘patently unconstitutional’ to a compelling state interest simply by relabeling it ‘racial diversity,’ ” he wrote, for instance, in a 2007 decision limiting the use of race to achieve integration in public schools.

Go to the Times for more on this story. Also, do you feel Affirmative Action programs are still needed or are the policies relics of the past? Sound off!

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