By the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a potentially landmark case that could end the use of race-based affirmative action in higher education. The Court ruled nine years ago that although quota systems in admissions processes were unconstitutional, race can be used as a positive factor, just not a decisive factor. The Court reasoned that considering race as a factor—or race-consciousness—in the admissions process is important because a diverse student body improves the education of all students. Fisher, a White woman, claims that she was unconstitutionally denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) as a result of its affirmative action policy. With this new case, the Court’s previous ruling that race can be considered as part of the admissions process, is in danger of being overturned.
The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice)—Asian American Institute (AAI), Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Asian Law Caucus (ALC), and Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) will be filing an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold race-conscious admissions.
We need affirmative action policies because not everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. Universities should be allowed to consider the whole person, including one’s experiences as a racial minority, so that the opportunities that come from higher education are available to all qualified students. Asian Americans may appear to be well represented at some of the most selective universities, but among the various Asian ethnic groups, many, like Southeast Asians, continue to be vastly underrepresented. A university should be allowed to consider race as one of many factors in order to promote equal opportunity and educational diversity in its classrooms and on its campus. Read the rest of this entry »