The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear the appeal in a case of affirmative action at a Texas university. The case has the potential to reverse precedent concerning so-called racial preferences.
The appeal involves a white student in Texas, contesting affirmative action laws. In the case, Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, et al., the student aims to diminish the role of racial preferences in college admissions.
Depending on the outcome of the race, affirmative action could soon be broadly restricted as a recruiting tool. The results may alter the compromise reached in Grutter v. Bollinger, the 2003 case that split the court 5-4 over a point system colleges used in order to find applicants who fit quotas. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who wrote that case's majority opinion, said that decision was intended to last at least 25 years. Her 2006 retirement is just one factor in a shifting court:
If any state action should respect racial equality, it is university admission, Abigail Noel Fisher, the rejected student argued in her appeal, which further states, Selecting those who will benefit from the limited places available at state universities has enormous consequences for their futures and the perceived fairness of governmental action. Under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Fisher's argument may hold up.
Because of the court's backlog of hearings, this particular case won't be heard until sometime in October when the court's new session begins. This places the issues as potentially central to a U.S. presidential election at times hinged--in some analysts' eyes--on race. Though he's been pegged as The Affirmative Action President by American Thinker, others say it's not necessarily a point of reference for the Obama administration to weigh in on. Whether or not it does remains to be seen. Justice Elena Kagan has already announced her recusal in the case.
Affirmative action policies have consistently split the Supreme Court since the policy's inception in 1978.