Thursday, July 29, 2010

Next Week's Court Hearing on Affirmative Action

The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 28, 2010, 01:12 PM ET
By Richard Kahlenberg

(Kahlenberg continues his campaign against affirmative action...)

Next Tuesday, August 3rd, when many folks in higher education may still be winding up vacations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will hear oral arguments in the most important affirmative action case since the 2003 Supreme Court decision supporting the policy at the University of Michigan Law School in Grutter v. Bollinger.The challenge to the use of race in admissions at the University of Texas at Austin sharpens the focus on a question left hanging in Grutter: how vigorously do universities need to pursue race-neutral alternatives to affirmative action before resorting to racial preferences in admissions? As an excellent article by Morgan Smith in the Texas Tribune last week notes, the fact that UT Austin was banned from using race by an earlier Fifth Circuit decision in Hopwood v. Texas (1996) provides a unique set of circumstances to test whether race-neutral alternatives are able to produce a “critical mass” of under-represented minority students.

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