Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Affirmative Action for Unqualified Whites

    The Supreme Court may forbid any use of race in college admissions in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, being heard today, because the conservative wing really wants to overturn previous rulings and because Justice Kagan has recused herself. If that happens, the winning plaintiff will be a classic poster child for anti-affirmative-action litigation: a white kid who got 1180 on her SATs.

    Abigail Fisher is suing because she did not get into the University of Texas. Here's how admission to the University of Texas works: if you're in the top ten percent of your class in any Texas high school, you get into the University of Texas. Abigail Fisher was not in the top ten percent of her high school class, and did not get in. Black people are obviously to blame for this.

    Fisher did have another chance to get into UT Austin, because the Top Ten program only fills about 85% of the spots in the entering class. The other 15% get picked through a fairly standard but rigorous admissions process which tries to make sure that Texas doesn't lose exceptional or valuable students through the simplistic Top Ten system. This admissions process gives roughly 75% of the weight to "Academic Achievement," meaning a combination of class rank, standardized test scores, and difficulty of high school curriculum. UT uses these stats to estimate an applicant's likely freshman GPA at Austin. Abigail Fisher scored 1180 out of 1600 on her SATs, which would put her somewhere in the bottom half of admitted students. And while Texas at Austin doesn't consider high school GPA, Fisher's GPA of 3.59 would also probably put her somewhere in the bottom half of UT's entering class. Her combined scores and class rank would project her, as near as I can tell using UT's stats, to be a B- student with something like a 2.9 GPA in her first year, which isn't a disgrace but doesn't make her someone to chase after. This, obviously, is some black person's fault.

    Fisher's test scores weren't bad enough to keep her out of Texas if her class rank were stronger, and her class rank wasn't low enough to keep her out if her scores were stronger. But neither was strong enough to pull the other up. And the competition for that last 15% of the class is pretty tight. Which leaves us with only one possible conclusion: black people.

    But wait! Isn't there some chance for a bright kid who doesn't, you know, test well? Is it all numbers? No. There was one more chance for Abigail Fisher. UT's process also gives 25% of the weight (in that competition for the last 15% of spots), to "Personal Achievement," meaning all those hard-to-quantify things that might make it worth digging a little deeper into the pool to take that particular student. What does UT look at? The student's application essay. Letters of recommendation. Extracurricular achievements in things like sports or student council or (let's face it) sports. Special talents. Job experience. Volunteering for charity. Stories of personal hardship overcome, such as being an orphan or coming from extreme poverty. And, somewhere down there with tales of personal hardship or family circumstance, but behind volunteer experience and special talent as an oboe player, the University of Texas considers "racial or ethnic background."

    Aha! Black people! I knew it!

    So to recap: Abigail Fisher couldn't get into the University of Texas on the basis of her high school record. She couldn't get into the University of Texas based on her test scores. And her whole ball of possible bonus qualifications, like musical talent or strong recommendations from her teachers, was not enough to raise her application above her so-so numbers. But because one tiny part of the number of factors that might have given her a better chance than her grades and test scores, but did not, was race, young Abigail Fisher has decided that the reason she did not get into the University of Texas was affirmative action. And today the Supreme Court is hearing her case.

    Some people who like talk about "white privilege," as opposed to racism per se, throw that term around too loosely and make it confusing. But we have a classic example right here:

    White privilege means that you get to decide why you didn't get into college you wanted. And it means that other people actually take your decision seriously.

    When people like Fisher or her lawyers bleat about "reverse racism," they are not defending meritocracy. They are defending mediocrities and failures who cannot accept that they missed the cut. Rather than face their own shortcomings and try harder, these people look around for some scapegoat to blame for their own lack of qualifications. And in our country, scapegoating black people requires no special effort or qualification at all.

    Abigail Fisher is suing before the Supreme Court to establish her God-given right as a white person to be the final judge of her own qualifications. She is suing for her right to be exempt from competition, for her entitlement to a big gold star and a pat on the back no matter what she's actually accomplished or how her efforts compare to other people's. She is suing to have her kindergarten sense of self-esteem vindicated by the Supreme Court of the United States, because anything Abigail Fisher does must be accepted as good enough. And anyone who says Abigail Fisher was not good enough at something can only be motivated by racism.

    Abigail Fisher is not an unusual plaintiff in cases like this. She is a typical plaintiff: a marginal white applicant who demands the rules be changed after she failed to make the cut. The idea that Abigail Fisher should have worked harder on her application essay, for example, or studied harder for the SATs, is clearly an expression of racial animosity. And the implication that she might go to another University of Texas school, rather than the main flagship, is obviously insulting. But notice how things that would be presumed as disqualifications for a black student aren't disqualifications for Fisher. A black kid who misses a numerical cut-off is a kid who missed the cut-off. An affluent white kid who missed that cut-off needs special consideration. After all, she just missed the top ten percent of her class. And her SATs are almost 1200 out of 1600. This is not meritocracy. This is a defense of ethnic privilege, and white kids' entitlement to be graded on the almost standard. Abigail Fisher has a Personal Achievement. She's white. What's the hold-up?

    As someone who's succeeded at some moments and failed at others, I've generally had three explanations for rejections I've received: (a) I didn't try hard enough, (b) someone else was better, and (c) I really should have tried much, much harder, considering that someone else was better. Occasionally I've blamed the luck of the draw. But I've tried not to look for scapegoats, because shifting blame and refusing responsibility would change me from a person who had failed in a specific instance into someone who was a failure. Not getting what you happen to want does not make you a loser. Blaming other people because you did not get the job done does make you a loser.

    And if I were to claim that the reason I had not succeeded at a particular thing was because I was white, I would be announcing my intellectual as well as my moral bankruptcy, because that is absurd.

    Abigail Fisher is not a bad student, and there is no shame in her 1180 on the SATs or her 3.59 GPA. But those qualifications do not entitle her to a place at whatever college she wants. She is not owed a place at UT Austin, or any other competitive campus. Other people with better qualifications than Fisher were surely turned away as well. But those people have the realism and moral character to accept a setback and move on.

    Abigail Fisher stands before the Supreme Court today in the cause of mediocrities, losers, and crybabies. She demands her special right to be deemed the Most Special Snowflake. What the Court stands to lose if Abigail Fisher wins is its integrity.


    Can she play football?

    At Texas, the average SAT score for a freshman football player from 2003 to 2005 was 945 -- or 320 points lower than the typical first-year student's score on the entrance exam.

    If you can handle the pigskin, you are affirmatively in the bank for the school.

    It's an interesting point.  If I ran the world, I might not give favored admissions status to football players.  But I think Cleveland's point is that none of us run the world and it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to stand up and demand, "I don't like the standards you're using, they're not fair because I didn't get what I want."  Also, she's pointedly not suing because the school prefers football players to oboe players.

    If someone had the nerve to file a lawsuit over prior admission of otherwise unqualified athletes/football players in Texas, I suspect they would have to go undercover, and/or receive round the clock police protection.

    Yeah, they'd be in more danger in Texas than Ben Bernanke.

    Yes, athletic ability is, as it has always been, weighted far more heavily than race. And one of the reasons for that 15% is to give Texas the wiggle room to admit athletes they want.

    But there was never a time before selective college admissions in this country favored athletes. That has always been true, and athletes have always been favored more heavily than racial minorities have.

    The basic reality of college admissions is that the colleges are looking for students that they think will bring value to the school. It's never been about some abstract merit or desert. It has always been about who the school thinks will be best for the school.

    Doc, I don't think people are raised or trained to really accept the reality of what you're taling about -- "It has always been about who the school thinks will be best for the school."

    Instead, kids are raised to believe that it's an evaluation of individual worth.  Admissions officers, good ones, anyway, don't see it that way.  "Qualified," students get rejected by colleges all of the time.  A college might take only 4 out of 5 credentialed math wizards just to leave some space for a poet.  Doesn't mean that the rejected math wizard was necessarily not as good as the 4 people accepted.

    And maybe that's what's at the crux of this lawsuit.  That the rejected applicant in this case shouldn't be so wounded in the first place.

    I suspect a lot more donations from alumni enthusiastic about sports performance than academics. A lot of trickle down effect from one super jock. School spirit etc.

    In 1971 we had 210? 'slots' into Law School at the U.

    There was only one other law school that a night school and Warren Burger went to the night school.

    Anyway, at the U we had some 'affirmative action' in the sense that the first 30? women were admitted.

    And there was vet's preference.

    And, if I recall we had two or three Blacks and then more Blacks who were admitted in the vet's preference classification.

    I just bring this up because we have four? other Law School Curriculums in Minnesota; the U has about 6 or 7 hundred open seats every year?

    This is a brand new day.

    I recall being told upon admission that this country already had a million attorneys.

    George W. Bush would never had been admitted to the University of Minnesota Law School but I certainly believe he would have 'qualified' for his silly MBA.

    I wish to underline that the U was a 'Land Grant University' that only required tuition around 1966?

    Tuition was minimal in those days and we had 'Work Study' at a buck an hour whereby students qualified for work at the library or whatever...

    Now 'education' is a multi-billion dollar enterprize and it is all bullshit.

    Congress and states should be impelled to grant 'minority' scholarships.

    Like 'athletic' scholarships.

    We went through this crap about affirmative action four decades ago and I am sick and tired of it.

    We need Blacks & Browns & Asians & whatever in our universities.

    Screw Harvard and Yale.

    We are a nation of 314 million?

    There is always a law school available; hell the damn Christian nuts make their own law schools and then their own laws.



    I think this is an incredibly inappropriate personal attack.  I heard an analysis of the case on the radio yesterday, and a strong case was made for the UT admission system that the plaintive is challenging.  So I hope it is upheld.  But the plaintive didn't strike me as some kind of horrible monster.  She's a young woman who didn't get into the college of her choice, and thinks she got unfairly jobbed by the system.  She's getting her day in court.

    I gather you had better SAT scores than she did, which gives you the license to rail about her manifest intellectual inferiority.

    Classic example of the way a grossly unequal and brutally competitive, mercenary society pits ordinary white folks against ordinary black folks.  While this battle is going on, the top 400 individuals in America have more wealth than the bottom 180 million Americans.  How about joining that war instead, Doctor?

    Maybe it's time to revisit my recent sociological hypothesis: Liberals are full of crap.

    Shorter: This fight isn't the big fight.  It doesn't matter whether we take the side of the white high school girl or her black high school mates.  They are all going to end up as degraded slaves working on the same capitalist plantation.

    Agree with Dan that this is an unwarranted personal attack on a person who, for whatever reason, did not feel like they were treated fairly and has asked for a court ruling on admissions decisions as they relate to race at UT. Prescribing baseless, selfish motives or calling her 'unqualified' is subjective unsubstantiated 'crap'. She has already graduated from another university.

    Can anyone state unequivocally that the admissions committee's of higher learning across this country are as fair, impartial and all knowing as Dr. C. seems to believe?

    You must be kidding if you say yes. In addition to the low academic rated football players as I mentioned, there are the legacy cases (GWB),  admitting preferentially the children of faculty or the student whose parent gives a load of $$$ just prior to admission, the arrangements with local institutions to always take a percentage of their students regardless of the qualifications, and in this case, a highly race based system that, if you read the briefs, not only has to do with admissions, but also with your choice of major, as UT tries to keep racial 'balance' in every discipline and class.

    Perhaps Dr. C has been on admissions committees, I have known some, and I would hope his committee has a higher level of professionalism than ones I have known at top ten nationwide post-grad professional schools. What is the beef with you, Dr. C? Something personal, as you are very personal in your attacks.

    Did anyone note in going through the long list of SCOTUS briefs, that although 'Asian' was listed as a 'minority', they were selected against by the UT program as it seems they scored too well and were 'over represented' on campus. I would assume this would include the many Vietnamese who live in Texas, many whose life stories are as difficult a struggle as any in America.

    Yes, I think admissions committees should have to bare their operations before the country and the courts. Because I have seen too many, known too many people on them, and seen the uneven results of their decisions to not dismiss this lawsuit as the narcissistic ploy of an 'over privileged' young woman. And Dan, I consider myself a liberal.

    I'll let Justice Ginsburg answer with a question:

    Official - Subject to Final Review

    GINSBURG: Mr. Rein, before we get to that, because the Court is supposed to raise it on its own: The question of standing. The injury -- if the injury is rejection by the University of Texas, and the answer is no matter what, this person would not have been accepted, then how is the injury caused by the affirmative action program?

    Abigail Fisher is suing because she claims to have been wronged by affirmative action. But the myth of "reverse racism" is the claim to absolute entitlement to something which, typically the aggrieved plaintiff had not earned. (In fact, no one is entitled to a seat at a particular college, but it is certainly not

    Should I have not made it about her? The Supreme Court case is about her, and about her imaginary merits. Those merits do not exist. That matters.

    What is true of her is likewise true of Bakke, Grutter, and all the other plaintiffs who scapegoated black people when they did not happen to get what they wanted. I could have talked about them instead of Fisher, but today is Fisher's day in court.

    The belief in reverse racism is based on a false belief in wronged and deserving white applicants. The fact that those aggrieved parties have no real grounds for complaint is surely relevant.

    I think you're painting with too broad a brush.  Every case is different.  Surely reverse racism could exist in some cases, even if in other cases the charge has no merit?  Your assertion that the young woman is claiming some kind of "absolute entitlement" and is scapegoating people for her own failures seems too hostile to me  She is claiming she was denied equal protection of the laws.

    My understanding is that Texas has a "10% rule", and that the plaintive is claiming the 10% rule is sufficient to achieve the state's legitimate racial diversity and equality goals, so that the additional specifically race-based criterion was not necessary.  Texas disputes that and seems to have a good argument.  But it seems like an argument worth having anyway.

    UT's position is that if she were a minority with her grades and scores, they would not admit her. So equal protection under the laws is irrelevant.

    They can make a quantitative case to this effect. They can show their admissions matrix, with her academic scores, and her "personal achievement" score artificially set to the max. She still doesn't make it.

    If this is the case that goes to the Supreme Court, how broad a brush am I painting with? If this is the best and clearest case that the anti-affirmative action people can come up with, why am I the one who's exaggerating?

    People always talk about affirmative action as if clearly qualified white kids were routinely being passed over for badly underqualified black kids. People talk about this as if it were an established fact. But somehow those unquestionably, no-doubt-about-it applicants never turn up in these lawsuits. It's always a white applicant who would probably or definitely have been rejected even if things had been race blind.

    Allen Bakke would not have gotten into UC Davis Med School on his qualifications. Barbara Grutter would not get into University of Michigan Law School on her qualifications. And Abigail Fisher would not have gotten into Texas at Austin on the merits.

    Also note that these people don't sue over special admissions treatment given to athletes or alumni children, although those factors traditionally have vastly more influence on admissions policy that race does. (UT does not give alumni preference, but most private schools do.) The "injustice" is not the larger advantage given to socially powerful groups, but the very small remedial advantage given to a less powerful group.

    The US is increasingly a society where many individuals have mixed race backgrounds. This is the literal embodiment of success in reducing bias and racism. Justice Roberts:

    "Should someone who is one-quarter Hispanic check the Hispanic box or some different box?" the chief justice asked. When told that there was a multiracial category, Justice Roberts pressed on. "What about one-eighth?" he asked. He then asked if the university attempts to verify the racial and ethnic backgrounds reported by students, and Garre said that Texas does not (and noted that colleges generally do not do so)....

    There is no question that we have a situation where gaming the race based system is not only present, but exploited in many cases. And the reason the SCOTUS took this case is to look at the race based system, not because they believed all the descriptions and accusations you presented about this applicant. I agree with the conservative justices, and think it may be time to dial back a bit on affirmative action, and it won't be the end of diversity on campus.

    Doc makes a good point.

    If 100 white students get in, and 30 black students get in, and 15 athletes get in, and 7 big donors' kids get in...

    And Lisa Fisher doesn't get in...

    Which one of the students took Lisa's place? Because it's an affirmative action case, she's assuming it's one of the black kids.

    But why not assume that a legacy kid or an athlete has her place?

    Why assume that a black kid took her place?

    If you look at the 30 black kids and they all have better credentials than she does, is it reasonable to say that one of them took her seat?

    My understanding is that the recent court case allowed race to be a factor of a factor of a factor. IOW, it doesn't play the role that affirmative action opponents portray it as playing.

    According to Doc's report anyway--we'd have to double check--her credentials fell short. Even if she were black, she wouldn't have gotten in.

    Which brings me to a question that doesn't seem to get asked: How many black kids get rejected? If there's a "decent" number, then the reverse discrimination hypothesis, though perhaps worth checking out, would be weakened.


    Her claim was that there were students in her own high school class who got in and had poorer credentials than she did.  Now in some of those cases she might be failing to recognize certain kinds of credentials that others possess and she lacks - special skills and interests etc.  But I don't think Texas is really disputing the claim that its admissions policy permits some people to be admitted who, all things considered, have poorer credentials on an individual basis than some other students who are not admitted.  The admissions system is not supposed to be a pure meritocracy, where every high school student is rewarded in proportions to their own individual merit.  The system also strives to achieve social goals.  And it also strives to achieve educational outcomes that are not determined by the mere sum of the merits of the individual students.  Some of those educational outcomes can only be achieved in an educational atmosphere of diversity.

    Those are good arguments I think.  But I just think its being too hard on a kid who didn't get into the college of her choice to go after her for arguing that it's unfair.

    I see your broad point, but...

    Then why isn't this a case about how UT's admission process is unfair, or treated her unfairly in this case...

    Why is this now an affirmative action case?

    And in front of SCOTUS???

    That's the rub.

    Because it's the affirmative action dimension of the process that she thinks is unfair.  I don't know why this particular one got to the Supreme Court, but I think it has something to do with the additional "10% rule" Texas has.  The critics are claiming that that rule by itself has achieved the goal of diversity and equality at UT, and that the race-sensitive admissions policy is overkill.

    Why does anyone have a problem with some sunlight being directed, in court, on how this institution runs its admissions? Why shouldn't it be in front of SCOTUS?

    I don't, but yours is a pro forma request for "regular maintenance."

    Let's clean off the rust and repair malfunctioning parts.

    But is that what you ask SCOTUS to do?

    Seems to when you escalate to the SCOTUS level, you are talking about principle, the principle of AA, not just how UT administered, poorly or otherwise, in this case.

    I'd have to delve more deeply into the details, but it seems to me this case is being used to attack and dismantle AA at the level of principle, not just with how it's being administered.

    And again, doesn't she have to show that a black person took her place and not an athlete or another white person?

    Thanks for this perspective.  I do think that some white students believe that they are superior to all black students. They simply cannot imagine that they are not worthy.

    Doctor Cleveland, I’m sorry to be posting a comment so late, but I’m also sorry to see this kind of invective on your blog, which I’ve been known to recommend to people.  You and I agree that the procedure employed by the University of Texas at Austin does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment, that the petitioner’s case is flawed, and that the Supreme Court has no good reason to intervene.  Unfortunately, your attack upon Abigail Fisher’s character and motives would apply just as well to someone whose complaint was valid.  That is, everything you say could be applied just as easily to a person whose application had been evaluated by criteria that actually do violate the Equal Protection Clause.  Of course Fisher is a marginal applicant; if she were not, then the criteria that have the capacity to affect marginal cases would be irrelevant.  Of course it is nearly impossible for her to demonstrate actual damage (you note the exchanges in oral argument that concerned this issue).  But let’s take seriously her lawyer’s argument that “the denial of her right to equal treatment is a constitutional injury in and of itself” (Oral Arguments, p. 6).  (He was addressing the issue Justice Ginsburg raised in the passage you quoted.)  Any criterion can be decisive, no matter how little weight it is given.  This is true even if Fisher is not marginal enough for the tiny amount of weight granted to “racial or ethnic background” to be decisive.  This is true even if no applicant so far has been marginal enough.  Certainly Fisher’s credentials mean that she represents her cause poorly, and maybe a class action lawsuit would have been better to confront the issues involved.  But you seem to assume that the arguments in the petitioner’s brief are so absurd and so obviously absurd that Fisher cannot actually believe them.  Thus, character becomes an issue for you. 


    Although you say Fisher believes her “qualifications [. . .] entitle her to a place at whatever college she wants,” her initial complaint, back in 2008, asked that her application be re-evaluated by “race-neutral” criteria, not that she be admitted.  Nothing I’ve noticed in those lengthy legal documents makes me think Fisher assumes she has “a God-given right [. . .] to be the final judge of [her] own qualifications,” much less that she would claim this right “as a white person.”  After all, she was willing to accept all of the university’s authorized criteria except one.  And someone might argue that it reflects well on her character that she has persisted in this lawsuit long after she can benefit from it.

    My society has decided to address an un-level playing field.

     In order to do so, there will be some sacrifices by individuals, even though one cannot blame them for the problem.  She has graduated from LSU, so she cannot be said to be denied a higher education by our society.  So why continue with the law suit?  If she truly wanted to attend UT, she should have been in the top 10%.  She wasn't.  So she has to be considered based on other criteria rather than academic standards.  Racial discrimination is a real facet of our country, so is our society's attempt to deal with it. To deny it, to state the society (through its institutions of higher learning) does not have a right to address that issue is to say she believes she has a entitlement to admission

    I don't think these comments really pertain to the nature of her argument, which is that UT policies are are unconstitutional given prior Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action policies.  As I understand it, she is not asking the court to overturn those previous decisions, but to find against Texas in light of those previous decisions.  The fact that affirmative action is constitutional as a general principle does not mean that each and every law passed or policy implemented to achieve affirmative action goals is constitutional.

    And also, what kind of argument is it to claim that "if she truly wanted to attend UT, she should have been in the top 10%?"  Maybe she tried to the best of her ability, and wasn't capable of getting in the top 10%.  If you then say, "Well then, she doesn't deserve to go to the University of Texas," you are begging the question against the claim that is in dispute.

    Maybe you should look up the meaning of begging the question.  The Texas university established a criterion for making into the school based on academic basis.  A basis which seems to reasonable mind to be, well, reasonable.  After that, it is up to the system to determine how they will take in the rest.  That the university system determines it will use the other applicants to address in part the racial issue is not inherently wrong. 

    Sorry, but I do know what begging the question means.  You seemed to claim that because the plaintiff did not make it into the top 10% of her class, she did not deserve to go to the University of Texas.   But I doubt that you can make an argument for that claim that does not rely on a premise that assumes the constitutional legitimacy of the current admissions procedures, and since it is precisely those procedures that are being challenged, it appears to me you are begging the question.

    Again, the issue is not whether Texas or any other state is permitted to employ race-sensitive admissions standards.  The court has already decided that states can do that, under certain circumstances and in certain ways.  The issue is whether this particular policy is constitutional.  One of the plaintiff's arguments is that the University of Texas has already achieved its diversity targets due to other admissions policies, including the 10% rule, and so the additional race-sensitive admission standard lacks a legitimate basis.

    Consider it this way: suppose some state had a law that said that any student who gets an SAT score over a certain number X is automatically admitted to the state university, which has room for annual freshman classes of 5000 students.  And suppose that 10% of the students in the state are Hispanic and that the state has established a goal of making sure that at least 10% of the students admitted are Hispanic - i.e. at least 500 students.  And suppose 20% of the students from all ethnic groups who are accepted at the university matriculate.  Now suppose that 2500 Hispanic students get over X on their SATs and are automatically accepted, and 20% of them - 500 students - matriculate at the university.  Then this SAT rule has already achieved the 10% representation goal.  Now suppose the state university also has an additional admission rule that gives Hispanic students extra points in the admissions system for being Hispanic.   One could argue that this additional rule is not justified by the equal representation goal, since the SAT rule already accomplishes that, and so the additional rule introduces a kind of unfair preferential bias.


    Begging the question: is a type of logical fallacy in which a proposition relies on an implicit premise within itself to establish the truth of that same proposition. In other words, it is a statement that refers to its own assertion to prove the assertion. Such arguments are essentially of the form "A is true because A is true" though rarely is such an argument stated as such. Often the premise 'A' is only one of many premises that go into proving that 'A' is true as a conclusion.

    Now - you state: The issue is whether this particular policy is constitutional.

    So...a policy that allows for the top 10% academically to make it in no questions asked and then for the spot that remaining the state determines it will use among the qualifications race is not constitutional?  How so? I mean constitutionally?  Where in the constitution is that found?  Please explain.

    You are relying on Wikipedia gibberish for your definition of pettio principii.  You shouldn't.  Check out some logic textbooks, and you will get better accounts.  Here is a better discussion by Douglas Walton.

    Your final paragraph is so garbled that I can't even understand it.  But trying to guess at what you are saying, I can only reiterate that the constitutional issue is not whether a state is permitted to use race-sensitive admissions policies.  The court has already determined that it may do this to achieve certain purposes.  The issue will be whether this particular race-sensitive policy satisfies the criteria for constitutionality that the court has already laid out - or can be justified on some other constitutional grounds that the court has not yet articulated.

    The background issue here is that Texas's schools are very nearly racially segregated.  So the plaintive has argued that the 10% rule - all students in top 10% of their classes get in automatically - already suffices for UT to achieve its legitimate racial diversity goals.

    Sorry, forgot to post the Walton link.  Here it is:



    You know, anonymous, other people have objected about my harshness toward Fisher. And personal invective is not usually my thing.

    But I find the complaints that I have been too hard on Fisher surprising and, well, appalling.

    It is not character assassination to say that someone who is not qualified is not qualified. And it is not character assassination to say that they have shifted blame onto other parties when they are pressing their blame-shifting strategy in the Supreme Court, and when their sense of personal dudgeon stands to penalize many other people who are in much worse shape.

    I repeat: white privilege means that you get to decide whether or not it was fair that you didn't get into college. And white privilege means that people calling you on your egregious nonsense is likewise "not fair." I said that Fisher was a failed applicant making excuses in a particularly nasty and racially charged way. And when I said that, more people started making excuses for her. That's not terribly convincing.


    What is your basis for claiming that she is not qualified?  There is no a priori standard of qualifications for admission to a college.  The admissions standards themselves are what establishes the qualifications for admissions, and she is challenging the fairmess of those standards.

    And she is not asserting some sort of privilege to decide herself .  She is asking the court to decide.

    For what it's worth, I agree completely with you, Doc.  I've seen no evidence that she was such a sterling student she should have been chosen over anyone else, no matter their color.

    I never had to worry about any of this, thanks to an annoying and ultimately destructive habit of daydreaming when I should have been paying attention, but I did work hard to help get my grandson into U-M.  He had a good but not great GPA, but he was a whiz at test-taking, so his SAT scores were always right up there.  He started out as a math major, which was an advantage since schools were actively looking for math and science majors then. 

    If he hadn't been chosen I can't imagine any of us would have chalked it up to discrimination or AA.  It is what it is.  There are hundreds of kids vying for every slot.  Some get chosen and some don't.  That's life.

    Latest Comments