Supreme Court Insider (sm)

Critical Mass Disaster

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The Achilles heel of the affirmative action case against The University of Texas at Austin is the term found in the Grutter decision of 2003 – critical mass.  It is undefined, it has no parameters, and is a prime target for revision, clarification, or elimination.

Chief Justice Roberts was very blunt in last week’s oral argument in Fisher v. UT-Austin, et al.

“What is the critical mass of African-Americans and Hispanics at the university that you are working toward?” asked Roberts.  The lawyers for UT-Austin did not answer the question.  “You won’t tell me what the critical mass is, continued Roberts.  “How am I supposed to do the job that our precedents say I should do?”

The frustration Chief Justice Roberts expressed will likely lead to the elimination of “critical mass” as a justification for affirmative action programs in higher education. In order words,  universities will not be able to consider race in admissions until a critical mass of minorities is reached at the student body or classroom level, as UT-Austin has argued.

Affirmative action in higher education may survive, but it will likely be severely restricted.

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Written by Admin

October 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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