With midterms swamping me, I just now had the opportunity to read the case that flooded people’s Facebook feeds everywhere. It is an interesting case, to say the least. However, the implications are quite ambiguous, and the outcome will more than likely depend on the temperament of the Supreme Court when they review it.
Anyway, here’s the way I see this case:
What didn’t happen
With all due respect toward Ms. Fisher, let me be very clear that the University of Texas did not, in any way, shape, or form, discriminate against you. Texas is one of the original eight “Public Ivy League Schools,” and if you were not able to gain admittance to Texas by being in the top ten percent of your high school class, then you certainly would not have gained admittance to the actual Ivy League schools to which we compare ourselves. (That is, I’m not sure Harvard accepts many people who graduate outside the top ten percent of their class either.) Furthermore, if you had put in a comparable good faith effort into trying to get into the top ten percent of your high school class, then I am sure your Personal Achievement Index, which is very clearly outlined in the case, would have reflected that. Therefore, as hurtful as it may sound, you were not accepted into the University of Texas because you did not meet the admission standards, not because you were discriminated against in any way.
What may happen
What may happen is very tricky because most of the laws that we are dealing with were intended to be temporary. In Grutter, the case that Fisher’s case relies very heavily upon, Sandra Day O’Connor writes that she hopes many of the affirmative action-type laws will be temporary and unnecessary a generation from now. The idea is that the discriminatory way of thinking would disappear by then. That being said, the Top Ten Percent Rule will go away at some point in the future. The question is when and whether we expected this day to come so soon. Continue reading The Fisher Case