June 25, 2013

"Supreme Court Puts New Pressure on Colleges to Justify Affirmative Action."

The Chronicle of Higher Education sums it up in a headline.

But I question "puts." Will schools really feel that pressure? The court receiving Fisher v. University of Texas on remand feels some pressure as it must reexamine — once more, with feeling — the evidence already assembled. The University of Texas will feel some pressure to point out how the Court of Appeals can say what it said before in a newly convincing way — without all that language about deference and presumption of good faith. And maybe eventually this will wend its way back to the Supreme Court. Is anyone else really feeling pressure?

It seems to me that the Court has once again said what it always says about affirmative action and admissions: 1. Here, have some more time, and 2. Could you please speak about what you are doing in a somewhat more palatable way, okay, thanks?


Tank said...

Your last paragraph is a perfect summary. Just couch your decisions in the correct terminology so we can waive you on by. Then you can keep on sending those white boys to the back of the line.

David said...

" Could you please speak about what you are doing in a somewhat more palatable way, okay, thanks?"

Correct, except speak = lie.

The SC approach encourages dishonesty and misinformation in public life. By our supposedly greatest universities, no less. And by all three branches of the federal government.

campy said...

No need to justify Affirmative Action, since only RACISTS oppose it.

Hagar said...

There will be more Abigail Fishers filing suits that cost money and bring unwelcome publicity, won't there?

jacksonjay said...

Like I said yesterday, "Don't make it so damned obvious!"

Simon said...

As I said yesterday, it's NAMUDNO all over again. The court is practically pleading with America: "We really don't want to have to strike this down, but if you don't fix it we're going to have to, so please fix it. Congress felt no pressure to fix the VRA after NAMUDNO, and we'll see what happens with that in the next ten days. Maybe that will jolt the system enough for people to pay attention to Fisher.

ricpic said...

U of T can always fallback on Ginsburg's okaying AA to infinity.

cubanbob said...

Read the comments at the link. Unbelievable.

Bender said...

Universities embraced Obamaism (we'll do whatever the hell we damn well feel like doing) long before Obama did.

campy said...

Read the comments at the link. Unbelievable.

Wonder if sgtted's comment will still be there at the end of the day.

Jay said...

Apparently UT sent out emails celebrating this victory.

Lem said...

Justify the-ends-justifying-the means.

Henry said...

I think there is something to be said for asking asses to make asses of themselves.

Legally, the advocates for affirmative action find themselves in a slightly smaller lifeboat.

In the non-legal debate, the Supreme Court gave them a sieve to bail with.

Jay said...

The very first comment:

The fact is that affirmative action is still needed in a diverse, pluralistic society such as ours. Period

And there you have it!

No critical thinking, no discussion, period!

Tank said...


It's a consensus !

Peter said...

"Oh, get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance ...
Look out kid, they keep it all hid"

Posted because, surely, "keep it all hid" is the essence of making "affirmative action" work. Eliminate objective standards, make it all "holistic." So you can make the numbers you want while keeping your fat thumb-on-the-scale hid.

And thereby (perhaps) avoid strict scrutiny by the courts.

Marshal said...

If you figure 3-5 years per iteration (court strikes policy, tweak program, wait for challenge, initial court ruling, appellate ruling) universities can continue indefinitely with a slap on the wrist every few years.

n.n said...

Perhaps this will empower parents to question institutions that denigrate the dignity of their children based on skin color, gender, etc.

SteveR said...

Nothing will change. Punt Can Kick Road

BarrySanders20 said...

It amuses me that the schools always claim that race is a very small factor, "one of many" characteristics considered in the holistic approach to selecting a student, yet if they were prevented from considering that very small factor, their racial diversity would be all shot to hell.

Kind of puts the lie to the whole scheme, don't it?

Also, who exactly does diversity benefit? Well, the minority kid who got in based partly on race, but that's not allowed to be the reason. So it's the white kids, right? They benefit from having minorities around them, says the school. So the schools discriminate against some white kids so that other white kids can experience the benefit of having minority classmates? That doesn't sound very compelling to me.

Jim said...

As an engineer, this just infuriates me. Why can't lawyers get some 6 sigma black belts on the problem and streamline the decision making? I would never put a work instruction into production with the sort of weasel worded ambiguity that passes for legal "thought." Everything I have read says that we won't know what the court decided until lower courts make decisions and they percolate back up. This is BS.

Simon said...

Jim, this is how the legal system works in the Anglo-American tradition. Let's stick with it.

BarrySanders20 said...

Jim, your error is in assuming SCOTUS wanted to fix a problem.

One problem is the precedent that allows for the current AA system to exist. SCOTUs said they could not do anything about that because Fisher did not ask them to overrule the eralier decisions.

Another problem was the current case. You are right -- there is no reason SCOTUS could not have applied the facts of Fisher to their newly minted utterances of the proper contours of the equal protection racket. That is, how to get around the equal protection clause. SCOTUS' failure to do that shows they did not want to fix either problem, rather, as our aptly-initialed host AA says, their fix was to punt for more time.

Jim said...

Simon and Barry,
I like our system but wonder why I can get a new iteration iPhone or car quicker than we can get a definitive answer to questions such as how much can skin color be used to play with the diversity of an incoming college class.

As another example I am fond of using: In 1953 we tried and executed the killers of Bobby Greenlease in under 100 days. In KC we have had two killers who kidnapped and raped a young girl on death row since the mid-80s. The last time they had an execution date cancelled it was because the lethal injection might cause them some discomfort.

Jim said...

Here's another example of how the type of kick the can down the road judicial system is a failure.


25 years? Really?

Nathan Alexander said...


There is one way to be truly successful: learn the culture of the group you want to join, and participate fully.

If you do not want to be participate fully (if you don't like some of the rules), you have two choices:
1) accept less success
2) change the rules to favor your cultural norms

We've been living the liberal dream of changing the cultural rules to benefit those who don't want to conform for the last 2 generations, at least.

What we, as a nation, are finding out are:
1) Changing the rules makes the nation (and organizations) less effective: there were good reasons why the culture grew the way it did, and messing with it damages the effectiveness. Maybe damaging the effectiveness is a good idea, or the right thing to do, but maybe not.
2) Changing the rules undermines assimilation. Lack of assimilation results in cultural balkanization, rather than hybrid vigor. See the definition of balkanization to see why balkanization is a bad thing.
3) As a society, we were promised that if someone was given a hand up they didn't earn on merit, they would rise to the occasion. That certainly happens in some cases. It is becoming more and more clear, however, that in most cases, the hand up has become a crutch. Lowered standards results in permanently lowered expectations, and permanently lowered performance.

It will take some time to get the nation out from under this legal lattice of cultural self-destruction. But I think people are getting fed up with Chicago's murder culture, Detroit's economic culture, and California's debt culture.

The pendulum always swings, and I think/hope this is the first signs of the pendulum swinging toward and understanding that the traditional became traditional because it worked for the good of most.

Liberals let "perfect" become the enemy of the "good". Incidentally, doing so gave them political power.
That means we will have a long battle to impose reason/sense on those who have benefited from the cultural & socio-political spoil system.

kentuckyliz said...

Colleges will not be able to singlehandedly cure inequalities in our society.

They will contribute to furthering inequality by allowing those who are willing and able to further develop their talents and skills and that may well be rewarded in the marketplace at some point.

Carry on. Nothing to see here.