Civil rights advocates awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of
Fisher v. the University of Texas believe the case concerns the legitimacy of
UT's affirmative action plan for admissions. However, the case actually involves
an even more extensive issue - whether any such plans violate the 14th Amendment
of the U.S. Constitution.
An examination of the court documents by ProPublica found there is no evidence of damage to the plaintiff. In fact, the only compensation she seeks is $100 to refund her application fee and housing deposit.
UT admits the top 10 percent of all Texas high school graduates. A 2008 graduate, Abigail Fisher of Sugarland, Texas did not qualify under this provision. That had nothing to do with the fact that she is white. Admissions for the remaining 841 seats were decided in accordance with a review/point system.
There was a high rate of rejection in 2008, with 168 black or Latino applicants with grades equal to or better than Fisher's being rejected. Also, 42 white applicants with lower scores than Fisher were admitted because of socio-economic factors.
According to the ProPublica analysis, there is no evidence that Fisher was displaced by a less qualified minority applicant. With insufficient evidence to support an anti-discrimination complaint, the judicial result would ordinarily be in favor of the defendant However, this suit, backed by the conservative non-profit organization Project on Fair Representation, has already made it all the way to the Supreme Court. That alone is quite an achievement.
Racial minorities should be alerted by the Fisher case and others that past gains for racial equality are under aggressive attack.
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