As the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the Fisher v. University of Texas case for the second time, Jonathan Bean, professor of history at Southern Illinois University and former NAS Illinois affiliate president, examines the long background of judicial “strict scrutiny.” That’s the constitutional standard that opponents of racial quotas in university admissions are hoping that the court will apply in its Fisher decision, and effectively ban the use of race in all but very rare instances. That would mean no more “diversity” hiring or race-based policies aimed at redressing past discrimination, certainly an outcome NAS has long supported.
The court may well do that, concludes Professor Bean. But if it does, as he argues in this article for the Independent Institute, nothing will change very much. "Strict scrutiny" has had a slippery and elastic history which opponents have creatively evaded or defied, and Bean thinks that's likely to be the outcome this time as well.
Image: Jeff Kubina, 2006, Public Domain