Supreme Court Upholds Racial Preferences over Scathing Conservative Dissents

Abigail Fisher Susan Walsh AP
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Thursday the Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin effectively repudiated previous decisions, upholding the use of racial preferences in public college admissions, against the vigorously and energetic dissents of three justices. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment commands that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Conservatives have always maintained that this means the government can never prefer one person’s skin color over another, discriminating against some to help others. But in the 1970s a liberal majority of the Supreme Court upheld various racial preferences under the euphemistic term, “affirmative action.” In 2003, the Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger held 5-4 that government-run universities can therefore use racially discriminatory policies to help racial minority students over white students, with four justices—three conservatives plus moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy—in dissent. The University of Texas (UT) has a racial-preferences program, whereby they automatically admit any student regardless of race who is in the top ten percent of their high school class if that high school is in Texas, but then uses race as an added bonus for all other applicants, if that student is black or