Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—August 31

The Sather Gate on the Berkeley campus (Simathers/Dreamstime)

2020—In Smith v. Regents of the University of California, state trial judge Brad Seligman issues a preliminary injunction barring the various University of California schools from considering the results of SAT or ACT tests in admissions and scholarship decisions.

UC president Janet Napolitano and the UC Regents are complicit in their own defeat. Faculty leaders, citing data showing that the standardized tests might actually boost enrollment of disadvantaged students, had recommended retaining the tests. But overriding the faculty recommendation, Napolitano and the regents decided to eliminate the tests systemwide in 2022 and to allow individual campuses to immediately abandon use of the tests. In weighing the public interest, Seligman deploys UC’s decision to abandon the tests against it.


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