Whither Fisher?

Glenn Ricketts

That’s the question discussed in this piece by Richard Kahlenberg today in IHE.

“Fisher” of course refers to Fisher v. University of Texas, a major affirmative action case currently under deliberation by the US Supreme Court.  Recall that we’ve signed on to an amicus brief filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation asking that the court reconsider and hopefully discard the race-based preferences so widely used in college admissions.  As we robustly re-affirmed at our recent national conference, NAS has opposed group preferences of any kind since our founding, and we’re not changing.  No preferences based on group attributes of any kind, period. 

Kahlenberg, like the rest of us, can’t say for sure what the Court’s decision will be – there’s probably a better chance of guessing the current papal conclave’s choice of a new pope, than anticipating the contours of what will probably be a closely divided outcome.  But  Kahlenberg also ventures that many college presidents are complacently optimistic if they think that the Court will simply affirm the status quo.  He himself doesn’t believe that the Court will toss racial considerations out of the admissions process en bloc, but concludes that it will likely insist that college admissions offices exhaust all possible race-neutral options first, with actual race-based considerations as the very last resort. 

That sounds reasonable but, as our friend Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity notes in the comments thread, most schools will probably give brief lip service to race-neutral policies – oh, we tried that, it didn’t work – and then jump right to the straight quotas that they’ve been practicing and denying for several decades. 

I join with Roger in hoping that the Supreme Court goes all the way, and simply outlaws racial preferences across the board.  But given the brazen dishonesty that’s been standard procedure in college admissions offices for such a long time, I have to wonder if even that outcome would make much of a difference in what they actually do.  I hope that we at least have the chance to find out.

  • Share

Most Commented

October 31, 2023


University of Washington Violated Non-Discrimination Policy, Internal Report Finds

A faculty hiring committee at the University of Washington “inappropriately considered candidates’ races when determining the order of offers,” provided “disparate op......

January 24, 2024


After Claudine

The idea has caught on that the radical left overplayed its hand in DEI and is now vulnerable to those of us who seek major reforms. This is not, however, the first time that the a......

December 9, 2023


The Presidents and Academic Freedom

What are the boundaries of “free speech?” They are pretty much the same as the boundaries of civilization. Savages need not apply....

Most Read

May 15, 2015


Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

October 12, 2010


Ask a Scholar: What is the True Definition of Latino?

What does it mean to be Latino? Are only Latin American people Latino, or does the term apply to anyone whose language derived from Latin?...

September 21, 2010


Ask a Scholar: What Does YHWH Elohim Mean?

A reader asks, "If Elohim refers to multiple 'gods,' then Yhwh Elohim really means Lord of Gods...the one of many, right?" A Hebrew expert answers....