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Supreme Court hears oral arguements against affirmative action

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

After decades of granting minority students preferential consideration for admission to colleges and universities, a student in Texas has sued the University of Texas at Austin for discrimination. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Oct. 10.

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Abigail Fisher, a high school student back in 2008, says she was denied admission to the University of Texas, and was discriminated against because she’s white.

The Pacific Legal Foundation summarizes the case: “This case asks whether the admissions policies and procedures at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) which grant preferences to students of certain races and ethnic backgrounds violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

In 1996, the Texas Legislature adopted the “Top Ten Percent” law, a race-neutral undergraduate admissions policy to increase minority enrollment. The law promised every student who graduated in the top 10 percent of a Texas high school a seat at one of the campuses of the University of Texas. At UT, the race-neutral policy had a positive effect on minority enrollment. Nonetheless, after the Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), which held that race could be used as one of many factors in admitting students to the University of Michigan School of Law, the Regents of the University of Texas system modified the admissions policy, authorizing each school to decide whether to consider an applicant’s race. In 2004, UT modified its undergraduate admissions policy to include consideration of an applicant’s race in some circumstances.

Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts has been on record stating in 2007, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

On the other side of the court sits Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “I am a product of affirmative action...My test scores were not comparable to that of my classmates...There are cultural biases built into testing, and that was one of the motivations for the concept of affirmative action, to try to balance out those effects.”

Affirmative action does discriminate against white students. Merit should be the sole measurement for college admission.

Keith Hansen

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