Guest post by The Janitor:
On October 10, 2012, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Fisher v. University of Texas. Abigail Noel Fisher feels that racial minorities – and only racial minorities – took her seat at UT. When we look at the facts, however, it’s difficult to see how affirmative action – and only affirmative action – is to blame for Fisher not being admitted at UT.
Every year colleges admit legacies, athletes, kids with rich donor parents, etc. But for some strange reason we don’t see Supreme Court cases against these admissions criteria, even though they have nothing to do with academic merit.
Fisher applied to UT – a highly ranked university – with a GPA of 3.59 out of 4.00 and an SAT score of 1180 out of 1600. UT has a “Top 10%” rule whereby they admit the top 10% of Texas high school students each year. 81% of the freshman class at UT is admitted through this process; it is notable to observe that Abigail Fisher was not among them.
Nevertheless, even if Fisher had high test scores – which she didn’t – perfect test scores still do not entitle anybody to a seat at the university of their choice. As the Law School Admission Council aptly stated in their amicus curiae brief in Grutter v. Bollinger:
It has been the consistent position of LSAC that there is no entitlement to a seat in law school, regardless of one’s test scores and undergraduate grades.
Thus, it stands to reason that even if affirmative action did not exist, Abigail Fisher still would not have been admitted at UT.
Schools like UT reject thousands of qualified applicants every year, both Black and White. In 2004, for example, 422 Black students with LSAT scores of 150 or more (out of a perfect score of 180) were denied admission to ALL (as in 100%) of the ABA-accredited law schools to which they applied (source). Yet unlike Fisher, these Black students did not feel entitled to bring law suits against the schools which rejected them.
After Fisher v. University of Texas is heard by the Supreme Court, make no mistakes about it, the conservative Roberts Court will strike down its 2003 ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger which allows universities to consider race as one of several factors in creating a diverse student body. Affirmative action will finally be wiped off the books in higher education. But it won’t be killed because we’ve achieved any sort of reasonable level of racial diversity in our colleges or universities and it won’t be killed because it’s unfair to Whites (Whites make up 72.6% of the U.S. population yet make up 75.2% of all college/grad students). No, instead, it will be killed because when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to for certain people who have a strong sense of entitlement, they need somebody to blame.
The Janitor is an attorney and a law professor and blogs at The Urban Politico.
- The Urban Politico
- Wikipedia: Grutter v. Bollinger – the 2003 ruling where the Supreme Court said universities could use race-consious diversity as a guideline when accepting students so long as it did not amount to a quota system (seats set aside for racial minorities).
- colour blind racism: the four frames
- white privilege mindset
- “Too Asian”