Patterico's Pontifications


The University of Texas and Race-Based Admissions

Filed under: Constitutional Law — DRJ @ 8:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Few universities have been involved in more litigation regarding race-based admissions than the University of Texas, especially after Monday.

The first notable case was in the 1950 Sweatt v Painter case in which the NAACP and Herman Marion Sweatt, an African-American, went to the U.S. Supreme Court to compel UT’s Law School and other graduate programs to integrate.

Subsequently, in the Hopwood case, UT unsuccessfully appealed a Fifth Circuit ruling “that any consideration of race, even as one factor among many, is unconstitutional. As a result of the court’s ruling, all affirmative action programs involving race and ethnicity in admission ended at public universities in Texas in June 1996.” Texas adopted the top-10% law soon thereafter.

After the 2002 Supreme Court decision in Grutter v Bollinger and Gratz v Bollinger, UT altered its admissions policies to consider race and ethnicity as factors in discretionary (non-top-10%) admissions. This year, 81% of admissions at UT-Austin were made pursuant to the top-10% law and the remaining 19% were discretionary admissions in which race and ethnicity were factors.

Monday, a lawsuit was filed in federal court that challenges UT-Austin’s race-based admissions policies:

“A group that fights racial preferences in schools filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the University of Texas at Austin, claiming its undergraduate admissions policies violate the Constitution and federal law.

The lawsuit was filed by the Washington, D.C.-based Project on Fair Representation. The plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, is from Richmond, a Houston suburb. She is a white student who finished in the top 12 percent of her high school class but was rejected for admission to UT-Austin.”

Here are links to the press release from the Project on Fair Representation and to the Complaint.

The lawsuit claims that UT-Austin has not complied with the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Grutter and Gratz:

“The lawsuit contends that UT has run afoul of a 2003 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving the University of Michigan that said race and ethnicity could be considered under certain circumstances. Fisher’s suit argues that affirmative action is allowed only after race-neutral approaches are found inadequate.

Patti Ohlendorf, UT’s vice president for legal affairs, said the school’s admissions policies comply with Supreme Court precedent and applicable laws.”

UT-Austin President Bill Powers supports discretionary admissions to increase minority numbers and has criticized the top-10% law because it limits discretionary admissions and, in his view, penalizes well-rounded and minority students. He advocates a cap on top-10% admissions at UT-Austin at 50% so that there will be more discretionary admissions to build “a diverse and well-rounded student body.”

College admissions is a contentious issue in Texas for many reasons but I think one reason is rising college tuition costs. State colleges like UT-Austin provide a good education at less cost than private schools, and the competition has intensified as costs increase.

Whatever the outcome, plaintiff will likely have completed college and perhaps even graduate school before this case is decided.


NCAA 2008 Basketball Final: Kansas vs Memphis

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 5:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Are you watching? It’s on now.

Overtime. Final Score: Kansas 75, Memphis 68.


Hillary Clinton & Michelle Obama see Victims

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Carol Platt Liebau notices that Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama apparently believe they live in a nation of victims. First, Michelle Obama’s radical view that her husband is a victim:

“Campaigning with Teresa Heinz Kerry last week, Michelle Obama had this to say about her husband’s pursuit of the nomination: “[I]n this ever-shifting, moving bar, Barack Obama will always be the underdog. No matter how much money he raises, no matter how many wins he pulls together, no matter how many delegates he accumulates; he is still the underdog. It’s the way it works.”

That’s the latest bon mot from a woman who has expressed pride in her country for the first time in her adult life. In Mrs. Obama’s view, her husband is unjustly condemned to perpetual underdog status – despite his clear lead in fundraising, in pledged and unpledged delegates, in the popular vote, and in high-profile endorsements.”

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton cynically believes everyday Americans are victims:

“Hillary Clinton’s vision of America is no more inspiring. Last week, she repeated again the heartrending story of Trina Bachtell – a young woman who lost her baby and died herself simply because she couldn’t afford the $100 fee a heartless hospital supposedly demanded in order to treat her. Not too surprisingly, it turns out that the story wasn’t true – but the very fact that Hillary deemed it plausible enough to repeat is revealing. Her view of America and its circumstances is remarkably dreary, considering that she and her husband have risen from the middle class to enjoy stratospheric influence and prominence, along with an income that puts them in the ranks of the super-rich – $109 million just over the last eight years.”

Liebau’s conclusion:

“It must be demoralizing to live in the world these two Ivy-League-educated lawyers seem to occupy, where innocent citizens are eternally victimized by forces beyond their control – from the evil healthcare system to the presumably racist political and social structure. It will be an interesting insight into the nation’s psyche to learn how many voters ultimately subscribe to their pessimism about this country, its people and its potential.

But despite their similarities in tone, Mrs. Clinton’s and Mrs. Obama’s remarks seem to spring from different sources. Hillary Clinton’s false assertions about Trina Bachtell signal a hardened cynicism, where no “misstatement” is too shameless to employ in the almighty effort to win political power. Michelle Obama’s comments reflect a latent radicalism, a pervasive and seemingly immutable conviction about the inherent unfairness of the American people.

Taken together, the most recent Democrat First Lady and the woman most likely to be the next one present unappealing alternatives. Would voters prefer for America to be represented by a radical, who sincerely and deeply doubts the goodness of its people – or by a cynic, who’s willing to say anything as part of a scorched-earth strategy to lead it?

Hillary Clinton’s message is that average Americans are helpless in the face of modern society. Michelle Obama tells Americans that even her privileged husband, who has been educated at America’s finest institutions and is leading his Party’s Presidential primary, is an underdog.

Thus, while both Clinton’s and Obama’s messages seem caring and compassionate, I think Liebau is right that neither one offers an appealing or positive message. More important, I think only people who see themselves as victims will respond to this message.


L.A. Times: No Pulitzer for You!

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 11:22 am

The Pulitzer Prizes have been announced, and the L.A. Times has come up empty this year.

In fact, the committee told Chuck Philips he has to give his back.

OK, I’m kidding about that part. But just barely.

P.S. Michael Ramirez won for editorial cartooning. He used to be with the L.A. Times . . .

Humiliation for the L.A. Times: Paper Formally Retracts Chuck Philips Story

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:30 am

In a remarkable display of institutional humiliation, the L.A. Times today formally retracts Chuck Philips’s article about the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur at Quad Studios — and makes it clear that the problems with Philips’s article go beyond a reliance on forged documents:

An article and related materials published on the Los Angeles Times website on March 17 have been removed from the site because they relied heavily on information that The Times no longer believes to be credible.

The article, titled “An Attack on Tupac Shakur Launched a Hip-Hop War” and written by Times staff writer Chuck Philips, purported to relate “new” information about a 1994 assault on rap star Tupac Shakur, including a description of events contained in FBI reports.

The Times has since concluded that the FBI reports were fabricated and that some of the other sources relied on — including the person Philips previously believed to be the “confidential source” cited in the FBI reports — do not support major elements of the story.

Consequently, The Times is retracting the March 17 Web publications as well as a shorter version of the article that appeared on Page E1 in the March 19 Calendar section of the newspaper. Statements that Philips made in two online chats, on March 18 and 25, and on The Times’ Soundboard blog on March 21 also are being retracted.

In the embarrassing retraction, The Times admits that Chuck Philips was duped by James Sabatino:

The Times now believes that Sabatino fabricated the FBI reports and concocted his role in the assault as well as his supposed relationships with Combs, Rosemond and Agnant.

Amazingly, the paper also says that the factual inaccuracies extended to the description of Rosemond’s alleged criminal record:

In addition, The Times was mistaken in reporting that [James] Rosemond has served prison time for drug dealing and was convicted in 1996 of drug offenses. The Times specifically retracts those statements.


I repeat my past prediction: Chuck Philips may not be long for the L.A. Times.

I will also remind you that has posts in development that will raise other questions about Philips’s past reporting. Those posts will be published regardless of what the L.A. Times decides to do with Chuck Philips.

UPDATE: Kevin Roderick is calling Philips’s story “one of the most embarrassing mistakes in its history” and today’s retraction “[o]ne of the paper’s most newsworthy retractions ever.” That should give you some idea of how significant this is.

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