On Friday, the Obama administration filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, supporting the use of racial preferences by the University of Texas in its undergraduate admissions. The brief is a full-throated endorsement of such discrimination, and it goes out of its way to say that the administration will support it at the K-12 level, too, as well as throughout university admissions: “In view of the importance of diversity in educational institutions, the United States, through the Departments of Education and Justice, supports the efforts of school systems and post-secondary educational institutions that wish to develop admissions policies that endeavor to achieve the educational benefits of diversity in accordance with [the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision upholding the use of preferences by the University of Michigan law school].”
The brief is also noteworthy because the University here wants to make sure that there is plenty of racial diversity on a classroom-by-classroom basis, and because the University was already bragging about its high degree of diversity when it decided to ramp it up through more overt preferences following the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision. There is also the usual disingenuousness of how race is only being considered “a factor” — but, of course, that factor will make the difference for many students in whether they get in or not, else why consider it at all?
This case, in all likelihood, is headed to the Supreme Court, and the Obama administration has now staked out its position.