Calling yesterday’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas a win for affirmative action is like celebrating that the guy in the Texas Depository building missed his first shot, while the fellow on the grassy knoll still has his finger on the trigger and the target in his sights.
Colleges and universities have the task of showing that their programs meet strict scrutiny; that given the protective class of race that racial diversity programs as part of the admissions program meets some compelling state interest that cannot be satisfied by a race neutral alternative.
The court could have done us all a favor and vacated Grutter v. Bollinger while they were at at it. That case says that while admissions can’t primarily be based on race, race can be considered as an add-on factor, along with other additional factors, when considering an admissions application.
I also invite you to check out this The New York Times article on yesterday’s ruling.
Treating access to educational services offered by a university like any other market transaction where the state does not butt in with conditions would be one of the primary ways to address the affirmative action question. If you can afford to go, whether you are on scholarship, student loans, etc., and you meet the academic criteria, i.e., it’s ascertained that you have the grades, graduated in the top ten percent of your high school class, or have demonstrated in high school that you bring value to a university’s mission of scholarship, then you should get in.
I know. According to former justice Sandra Day O’Connor, we’re fifteen years away from that, but there is nothing wrong in continuing to promote that vision.