Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Good Briefs in Fisher v. University of Texas


Links to the merits brief for Abigail Fisher in her lawsuit challenging racially preferential admissions at the University of Texas, and to the supporting briefs filed this week by a wide variety of amici curiae, are posted here. There’s real diversity (pardon the expression) in these briefs, folks: conservatives, libertarians, and liberals; social scientists, economists, statisticians, and journalists; Asians, Jews, Indians, and African Americans; present and former civil-rights officials, including four of the eight current members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; lots of conservative lawyers and legal organizations; and U.S. Representative/Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Allen West, to name just some.

I won’t try to summarize the briefs here, but will note a few themes: It is bizarre for the law not only to allow racial and ethnic discrimination but to defer to a university’s judgment on whether and how to discriminate; this discrimination is offensive and harmful not only to whites and not only to the other groups discriminated against but also to the groups who are supposed to be the “beneficaries” of this discrimination; the discrimination is widespread and schools face not only internal but external pressure to engage in it; the discrimination cannot be supported by social science and, indeed, there is more and more empirical evidence that the costs of racial preferences overwhelm the increasingly shaky claims of its benefits; and the whole business is now just silly (I’m not sure that Elizabeth Warren is mentioned in any of the briefs, but she could have been).


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