The Supreme Court issued an opinion on affirmative action today – Fisher v. University of Texas. To help you better understand the decision, below are some links to commentary on the matter and other helpful resources, including briefs and a transcript of the the Supreme Court oral argument.
Earlier this month, the California Legislature passed SB 185. If signed by Governor Brown, the bill would add a section to California Education Code Section 66205 allowing the University of California (UC) and the California State University (CSU) to consider certain factors in admissions, “so long as no preference is given.”
UC Comprehensive Review
Currently, the UC considers 14 academic and personal factors in its admissions process. Known as the comprehensive review, this process ranks students based on the following factors:
Last week, in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of University of Michigan, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down an amendment to the Michigan constitution that prohibited the state’s public colleges and universities from granting “preferential treatment [to] any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.” The amendment was the result of a successful voter initiative, known as Proposal 2. In striking down the amendment, the appeals court held that “Proposal 2 unconstitutionally alters Michigan’s political structure by impermissibly burdening racial minorities.”
Proposal 2, also misleadingly known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, was passed by 58 percent of Michigan voters in November 2006 and became law in December of that year. Among its notable supporters were Jennifer Gratz, plaintiff in the 2003 case Gratz v. Bollinger (where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that students could not be given “extra points” in admissions decisions on the basis of race); Barbara Grutter, plaintiff in the Grutter v. Bollingercase of the same year (where the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of race as a “factor” in the University of Michigan Law School’s admissions decisions); and Ward Connerly, a former Regent of the University of California who was instrumental in the passage of Proposition 209, California’s own successful anti-affirmative action initiative of 1996.