The University of Texas already has been told twice, but apparently needs to be told a third time: Discriminating against would-be students on racial grounds is contrary to the American way.
In the 1950 case Sweatt v. Painter, the state of Texas attempted to preserve the university’s no-blacks policy at its law school by setting up an all-black alternative in Houston in accordance with the “separate but equal” rationale established by Plessy v. Ferguson. The Supreme Court said no, laying the groundwork for the subsequent hammer-and-tongs assault on racial discrimination in education.
Nearly half a century later, in 1996, the University of Texas law school was once again defending its use of racial criteria in admissions, this time by discriminating against an accomplished young woman in order to preserve new race-based policies offered in tribute to the great god “Diversity.” Again, the courts said no; the Fifth Circuit ruled that “the University of Texas School of Law may not use race as a factor in deciding which applicants to admit in order to achieve a diverse student body, to combat the perceived effects of a hostile environment at the law school, to alleviate the law school’s poor reputation in the minority community, or to eliminate any present effects of past discrimination by actors other than the law school.” The Supreme Court decided not to intervene.
Clear enough? Not for the University of Texas, which proceeded to use race as a factor in deciding which applicants to admit. And so again, the University of Texas heads to the Supreme Court to defend the use of racial criteria in admissions. The case is Fisher v. University of Texas, and the University of Texas should lose it.