Two items were in the news yesterday, both highlighting the continuing struggle against racial preferences in university admissions. First, the National Association of Scholars posted an interesting analysis by Terry Pell, who heads the Center for Individual Rights, on it website. Pell discusses the powerful empirical evidence uncovered during recent litigation that the use of racially preferential admissions to the University of Michigan “was directly causing racial disparities in grades, majors, graduation, and professional examination results.”
Second, the University of Texas has been sued for its use of race in undergraduate admissions. The lawsuit, backed by the Project on Fair Representation, argues that, since UT was achieving plenty of diversity without using preferences (via the state’s Ten Percent Plan), its use of race fails to meet the “narrow tailoring” requirements laid out by the Supreme Court in its 2003 University of Michigan decisions, and specifically Grutter v. Bollinger.
Kudos to CIR and PFR! It’s great that universities’ use of preferences continues to be challenged. Ultimately, of course, Grutter delenda est, but in the meantime, demonstrating that schools cannot justify their policies, even accepting Grutter, will limit its damage. And, by doing so and by showing that preferences are not only unnecessary but also counterproductive, litigation like this will make it easier for the Court to jettison Grutter in, one hopes, the not-too-distant future.