I’ve been meaning to get to this, but work and other demands have interfered. Two judges say it’s perfectly OK for the University of Texas at Austin to discriminate on the basis of race:
Ruling that the Supreme Court has not barred all use of race in choosing the entering class of students at state universities and colleges, a federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld — for a second time — the admissions policies at the University of Texas in Austin. The two-to-one decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit followed the Supreme Court’s return of the case of rejected white applicant Abigail Fisher for a focused new look at the need for a race factor.
The Dog Trainer tells us:
“To deny UT Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience,” Higginbotham said in the 2-1 opinion for the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
“Universities may use race as part of a holistic admissions program where it cannot otherwise achieve diversity,” Higginbotham wrote. “This interest is compelled by the reality that university education is more the shaping of lives than the filling of heads with facts – the classic assertion of the humanities.”
The decision is here (.pdf). It’s 2-1, with two reasonably conservative judges in the majority: Patrick Higginbotham and Carolyn King. It’s not entirely their fault. Anthony Kennedy made this possible. But they could have gone another way. Dissenting is Judge Emilio Garza, who was once in the running for a Supreme Court spot himself. Judge Garza says, referencing a Texas law that calls for automatic admission of the top ten percent of students in the state’s high schools:
By accepting the University’s standing presumption that minority students admitted under the Top Ten Percent Law do not possess the characteristics necessary to achieve a campus environment defined by “qualitative diversity,” the majority engages in the very stereotyping that the Equal Protection Clause abhors.”
Once again, thank you Anthony Kennedy.