Tuesday, December 1, 2015
This Term, the Supreme Court will once again consider whether the University of Texas at Austin is illegally discriminating on the basis of race in its undergraduate admissions program. Most commentators expect the University to lose because it seems to have so little need to consider race as an admissions factor in light of the success generating racial diversity its Ten Percent Plan has had all by itself. This does, indeed, seem to be an easy case. But it is an easy case only because it has been litigated upon on a dubious premise: that the Ten Percent Plan is itself constitutional. The more interesting and important question is whether this premise is false. I think it may be. The Ten Percent Plan was (successfully) designed to replicate the discrimination against whites and Asians that the University had achieved using pervasive racial preferences in the 1990s. If a law is motivated by racial discrimination and has the effect of racial discrimination, isn’t the law racial discrimination? And, if it is, isn’t it constitutionally suspect? The short answers to these questions are yes.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Soon, SCOTUS will hear oral arguments in Fisher v . University of Texas at Austin II over whether the University of Texas's admission plan is constitutional. Texas residents who finished in the top 10% of their high school class are admitted automatically. This accounts for 80% of admissions. For the remaining 20% of applicants, the university uses a long list of factors in making a determination, one of which is race. Proponents claim that UT's policy is necessary to achieve the legitimate aim of promoting institutional diversity. Opponents, however, allege that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment arguing that the goal of diversity can be achieved without taking race into account, and by using race, UT is unfairly advantaging minority students.
Today, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced its support for UT's policy. The commission states in part:
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights believes that the University’s admissions policy is indeed narrowly tailored to serve the compelling interest of securing the educational benefits of a diverse student body. Accordingly, the 5th Circuit’s determination that the University’s admissions process does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment should be affirmed...
Throughout its history, the Commission has expressed its strong belief in the benefits of diversity in educational settings. In our 1975 report Twenty Years After Brown: Equality of Educational Opportunity, the Commission found it appropriate “to provide the equal educational opportunity that segregation inherently denies and to permit all pupils to develop the understanding and appreciation of each other that inevitably will result in a more equitable society for all Americans.”...
A ruling further restricting the admissions process or eliminating the consideration of race altogether will diminish the vibrant university learning experience. It will have grave consequences for many schools across the nation and students of all backgrounds. The constitutional validity and educational benefits of the University’s admissions process are clear. The Commission supports the University of Texas in this case and encourages the Supreme Court to uphold the University’s admissions process.
The commission's entire statement can be read here.
SCOTUS will hear oral arguments on December 9, 2015.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
ProPublica has this interesting Q&A on the re-emergence of the Fisher case with Joan Bizkupic, author of “Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice.”
Friday, February 28, 2014
The title of this post comes from this recent paper by Professor George Rutherglen linking the debates over the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to modern ones over affirmative action policies. Here's the abstract:
Disputes, disagreement, ambiguity, and ambivalence have marked the law of affirmative action since it came to prominence in the Civil Rights Era, nearly 50 years ago. These current controversies might be attributed to modern attitudes, and in particular, the need to delay enforcement of a strict colorblind conception of prohibitions against discrimination until the continuing effects of racial and ethnic discrimination have been eliminated. But a look at the origins of the civil rights law in Reconstruction belies this modernist perspective, which foreshortens debates to the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education rather than rediscovering their origins in Reconstruction. This article attempts to rediscover those origins by re-examining the legislative history and immediate reception of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 as it bears upon race-conscious remedies for racial discrimination. The argument proceeds in three parts. The first concerns the 1866 Act itself and the congressional debates over it, which featured charges of special treatment despite the neutral terms of the act. The second compares the act to the legislation authorizing the Freedmen’s Bureau, where arguments of special treatment carried more force, so much so that the authorization for the bureau had to remain temporary and it lapsed well before Reconstruction ended. The third part briefly considers the implications of this comparison for modern civil rights law, and in particular, for constitutional arguments over affirmative action. No one-to-one correspondence exists between the legislative debates in 1866 and constitutional arguments today, but the debates then have left their traces now in concerns over special remedies for discrimination, and in particular, over how long they last.
CRL&P related posts:
- Title VII as Precedent: Past and Prologue for Future Legislation
- Section 1983 Is Born: The Interlocking Supreme Court Stories of Tenney and Monroe
- AALS Scholarly Paper Award winner examines how sit-ins challenged role of courts
Friday, December 6, 2013
Democratic lawmaker urging Florida to allow online voter registration, same-day registration, and to create more early voting sites; and, Obama expects to see bipartisan improvents to voting access in 2014.
Florida State's Attorney won't press charges against officers facing civil rights lawsuit over harassment allegations.
Gun-rights advocates target the NFL over its policy against ads with guns; gun-control advocates release advertisement as citizens remember Newtown; and, Giffords launches gun-control PAC.
NYC's Fire Commissioner discusses with NPR attempts to close force's racial gap.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Think Progress says Texas's voter ID law could produce six-hour delays to vote.
Guardian explores how the pact between the U.S and U.K. led to modern surveillance; and, Glenn Greenwald responds to continued attacks over his release of Snowden's NSA leaks.
Constitutional Law Prof Blog previews oral argument in an upcoming First Amendment case: U.S. v. Apel.
NPR examines 'forgotten' issue of fair housing.
Albaquerque looks to reform its allegedly costly intiative process.
Next LA fire chief will have to deal with legacy of race and sex discrimination.
December 2, 2013 in Affirmative Action, Election Law, Fair Housing Act, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Speech, Right to Vote, Voter ID, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Northern Illinois University student has been arrested after police discovered an AR-15 rifle and a handgun in his dorm room; federal agents claim gun made by a 3-D printer could threaten security; Iowa gun store owner has been arrested after selling fully automatic machine gun; Milwaukee youth help city officials develop strategies to reduce gun violence; and a Florida woman pulls a gun on a journalist.
Sen. Rubio is scheduled to speak at a conference led by an anti-gay activist; Indiana woman has been denied access to her partner who is currently unconscious in the hospital; and five Senagalese women could face as much as five years in prison because they are lesbians.
Supreme Court considers whether law enforcement officials violate the Fourth Amendment when they search an apartment after one roomate denies them entry but another later permits it; and TSA's profiling program is ineffective.
Students decry lack of diversity at UCLA; and federal court hears oral argument on University of Texas's addmission policy that considers race.
Former Dolphin's offensive lineman Jonathan Martin might sue the team for harassment and discrimination.
ProPublica documents China's efforts to censor Twitter messages.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Fifth Circuit prepares to hear arguments over another University of Texas admissions policy that considers race.
Supreme Court could hear challenge to New Mexico Supreme Court's decision requiring a photography company to offer its services to gay couples.
WaPo's Cilizza details the places from which most of the country's campaign cash comes.
Cleveland tears down a school that was the focus of civil rights protests, a place where one protester died.
Angolan officials arrest five women on suspicion of being lesbians.