Fisher v. University of Texas (pt. 2)

See first post about Fisher vs. UT here. And the transcript of the oral arguments can be found here (it is a .pdf).

I’d like to highlight some of the things said by the justices of the Supreme Court today.

SCALIA: “it’s been enough that there was a denial of equal protection.”

SCALIA: Fisher “was denied a fair chance in the the admission lottery.”

SOTOMAYOR to Fisher’s lawyer: “you can’t seriously suggest that demographics aren’t a factor to be looked at in combination with how isolated or not isolated your student body is actually reporting itself to feel?”

SOTOMAYOR: “So now we’re going to tell the universities how to run and how to weigh qualifications, too?”

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: “Should someone who is one-quarter Hispanic check the Hispanic box or some different box?

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: “What about one-eighth?”

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: “Would it violate the honor code for someone who is 1/8 Hispanic and says, I identify as Hispanic, to check the Hispanic box?”

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: “You don’t check in any way the racial identification?”

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: “So how do you know you have 15 percent African American — Hispanic or 15 percent minority?”

SCALIA: “Somebody walks in the room & looks them over to see who looks Asian, who looks black, who looks Hispanic? Is that how it’s done?”

SCALIA: “Do they look to individual classroom diversity or not? And if so, how do they decide when classes are diverse?”

SCALIA: “Did they require everybody to check a box or they have somebody figure out, oh, this person looks 1/32nd Hispanic & that’s enough?”

ROBERTS: “What is that number? What is the critical mass of African Americans and Hispanics at the university that you are working toward?””

KENNEDY: “So what you’re saying is that what counts is race above all.”

ROBERTS: “When — how am I supposed to decide whether you have an environment within particular minorities who don’t feel isolated?…So, I see — when you tell me, that’s good enough.”

SCALIA: “But she — she had to pay an admissions fee for a process in which she was not treated fairly. Why shouldn’t she get her money back?”

SCALIA: “this is a very ambitious racial program here at the University of Texas. How many people are there in the affirmative action department of the University of Texas? Do you have any idea? There must be a lot of people to, you know, to monitor all these classes and do all of this assessment of race throughout the thing. There would be a large number of people be out of a job, wouldn’t we, wouldn’t they, if we suddenly went to just 10 percent?”

SOTOMAYOR: “She was going to get a better job because she went to a different university?”

SOTOMAYOR: “So you don’t want to overrule Grutter, you just want to gut it.”


FINAL THOUGHT after reading all of the oral arguments in today’s case: The conservative justices of the US SCOTUS seem VERY concerned that too many minority students will get into college.

Here is my storify of the tweets I posted while reading through the oral arguments. It includes some other thoughts about the arguments and the case, too.

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