By LeaAnne Klentzman
Affirmative Action in college acceptance to be reviewed by High Court after case filed by local woman.
In 2008, a Sugar Land high school senior named Abigail Fisher was not accepted to the University of Texas in Austin. She filed a lawsuit claiming she was denied access to the University, in part, because of her race. She is white.
However, Fisher could have won automatic acceptance if she had qualified for the Top 10% rule whereby any student in the top 10% of their Texas senior class would be guaranteed acceptance to Texas University. Reportedly Fisher was in the top 12% of her class.
Fisher went on to attend LSU and has since recently graduated, which according to some scholars should leave her case moot since she has not suffered loss. However, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is scheduled to review her case beginning October 10, 2012; part of the session that began Monday.
In their review the Court will look back to the last ruling on this issue which was in 2003. In that case the Court ruled that equal protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment does not prevent the school from considering applicant’s race during the college acceptance selection process so long as it is done in a “holistic manor.” This decision is believed to have been an attempt to continue to build university‘s with diverse student bodies and to foster racial harmony. While the 2003 case did not require race to be a part of the selection process, it did not exclude the use of race either. That decision was left to the University.
Although the US Supreme Court interpets the law, one’s view on affirmative action is likely based on their personal circumstances and experiences. Interestingly, the largest group to benefit from affirmative action is white women. In the Fisher case, each side will offer their arguments before the highest US Court next week.
Whatever the decision, it probably will not be the last, and will likely add more polarization to a bitterly divided populous.