Appeals Court Rules Harvard Doesn’t Discriminate Against Asian American Applicants

Of note (will be appealed to SCOTUS where, given Trump appointments, may be overturned):

A federal appeals court in Boston has ruled Harvard doesn’t intentionally discriminate against Asian American applicants in its admissions process.

The panel of judges upheld a federal district court’s decision from last year, teeing up a possible case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch, who wrote Thursday’s decision, agreed with the lower court that “the statistical evidence did not show that Harvard intentionally discriminated against Asian Americans.”

Students for Fair Admissions, an advocacy group, first filed its lawsuit in 2014, saying that Harvard’s race-based considerations for applicants discriminated against Asian American students in process.

“Today’s decision once again finds that Harvard’s admissions policies are consistent with Supreme Court precedent, and lawfully and appropriately pursue Harvard’s efforts to create a diverse campus that promotes learning and encourages mutual respect and understanding in our community,” a spokeswoman for Harvard told NPR.”As we have said time and time again, now is not the time to turn back the clock on diversity and opportunity.”

Proponents of ending race-based considerations at U.S. universities were unfazed by Thursday’s decision and plan to bring the case to the Supreme Court, according to Edward Blum, the conservative strategist behind SFFA.

Blum said in a statement to NPR member station GBH that he plans to ask the Supreme Court to end the consideration of race in admissions at Harvard and all other universities.

The question of how much race should be a factor in college applicants is a hotly contested one. President Trump’s administration has challenged colleges on using race in admissions policies, claiming such practices violate federal law. Last month, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Yale University, saying its policies violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yale has said the lawsuit is “baseless.”

Wen Fa, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed an amicus brief in the Harvard case, said Asian Americans are harmed by the school’s admissions rules.

“The Supreme Court’s intervention is needed so that universities comport with” federal law, Fa said.

Stella Flores, an associate professor of higher education at New York University, said she hopes the court will rely on decades of research and data that show the benefits of such policies. Race is but one factor within the broad and “holistic admissions policy” at Harvard and other schools, she said.

Flores and Fa say the new conservative majority of the Supreme Court makes predicting whether the justices will take up the case difficult.

The court has previously decided on similar questions. It upheld race-based admissions policies in the 2003 case Grutter v. Bollinger, as well as the 2013 and 2016 Fisher v. Univ. of Texas at Austin decisions.

In Grutter, the justices were asked to determine whether the University of Michigan Law School’s use of racial preferences in student admissions violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment or Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the 5-4 Grutter opinion, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said race-based admissions policies should be for a limited time only, Fa said.

That phrasing may be enough for the current court to take up the case, he said.

Source: Appeals Court Rules Harvard Doesn’t Discriminate Against Asian American Applicants

Californians to vote on racial, gender preference programs

Will be interesting to see how the demographic shifts affect the vote:

A California with vastly different political preferences and demographics is voting on whether to allow affirmative action in public hiring, contracting and college admissions — nearly a quarter century after voters outlawed programs that give preference based on race and gender.

If approved, Proposition 16 would repeal a 1996 initiative that made it unlawful for California’s state and local governments to discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to people based on race, ethnicity, national origin or sex. Then-Gov. Pete Wilson, a Republican, championed the measure as part of his conservative bid for the presidency.

The California of 2020 is less Republican and more diverse than it was 24 years ago, with Latinos making up 39% of the population in a state where no group holds a majority.

Still, the repeal might not have made the ballot if not for the Memorial Day police killing of George Floyd while handcuffed by police in Minneapolis. Voters’ decision will test support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a San Diego Democrat and chairwoman of the California Legislative Black Caucus, is the lead author of the legislation that put the question to voters, which required two-thirds support in both houses of the state Legislature.

“I think the death of George Floyd made racism very real for people; they could see it. And now what I was asking them to do was to act on it, stop telling me how horrible it is, stop telling me that you really didn’t know that, stop telling me that this is such a revelation for you,” Weber said.

She added: “Now the question becomes, what are you going to do about it?”

Early voting begins Monday for the Nov. 3 election.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long outlawed racial quotas, but it has ruled that universities may use tailored programs to promote diversity.

Last year, a federal judge in Boston rejected claims that Harvard’s admissions policies discriminated against Asian American applicants to keep their numbers artificially low. The plaintiff, the Students for Fair Admissions group, is appealing.

Supporters of Proposition 16 include U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, the Democratic nominee for U.S. , Black Lives Matter movement co-founders, professional sports teams and politically liberal groups of all types. They argue that some programs are needed to help level a systemically racist playing field. The campaign has raised $14 million, far more than the $1 million raised by opponents.

Opponents include Ward Connerly, an African American businessman and former University of California regent who pushed for the 1996 ban.

They say government should never discriminate by race or gender, and the only way to stop discrimination is to end it. Joining Connerly are more recent Chinese immigrants who say the United States shouldn’t play based on skin .

In 2014, activists scuttled an attempt to restore racial preferences in higher education and successfully voted out some Asian American legislators they called traitors to their race.

Assemblyman Evan Low, who is Chinese American, voted in June to put the issue before voters despite emails and phone calls running 37-to-1 against it. He rebuked proponents for failing to reach out to him and the broader Asian American community at a time when all minorities have reason to feel under attack.

“Yes, we have a moral compass, but we must have conversations, difficult ones, even with those communities in opposition, because we’re all in this together, right?” said Low, a Silicon Valley Democrat, in June.

Supporters say minority- and women-owned businesses have missed out on public contracting dollars. Because of the ban, culturally specific programs aimed at improving high school graduation rates for African American boys and Latinas were discontinued, deepening divides.

And while some Asian Americans are admitted to elite universities in large numbers, affirmative action proponents say they too hit a “bamboo ceiling” that prevents them from landing executive-level positions.

On the other side, Tom Campbell, a former dean of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, said the college recruited minority applicants through strong outreach to high school students in nearby Oakland.

The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws exists, he said, but, “I just will not engage in this method of correcting that, because it is wrong to the individual kept out because of her or his race.”

Kali Fontanilla teaches English as a second language in Salinas, California and before that, tutored African American students. She identifies as Black and biracial, and said students of don’t need their standards lowered.

“That’s insulting to me to say that there’s certain groups that because of the of your skin you’re not meeting the standard, you can’t meet the standard (so) we’re going to help you, we’re going to give you this crutch to get in,” she said.

Higher education has long been a flash point in the debate and both sides point to admissions statistics at the University of California and its nine undergraduate campuses to make their case.

Opponents of affirmative action say Latinos have made significant progress without preferential treatment, making up 25% of undergraduates last year, double their share two decades ago.

Supporters of affirmative action note that Latinos make up more than half of California’s high school seniors, with a graduation rate above 80 .

The population of California has also changed dramatically since 1996. The numbers of Latino and Asian American residents — and voters — have grown, although likely voters are still disproportionately white. Democrats still make up nearly half of registered voters, but the percentage of Republicans in the state has dropped from 36% to 24%.

Dan Schnur, who teaches political communications at UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California, noted that young white Californians also are much more liberal on issues of immigration, same-sex marriage and equity, having “grown up in much more diverse and multicultural environments than their parents and grandparents.”

But recent polls by the Public Policy Institute of California and the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley showed the measure trailing. Last year, voters in Washington narrowly upheld that state’s ban.

Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal and Education Fund, said claims that a quarter of college students are Latino are “not something to be celebrated,” given that more than half of all public school students are Latino.

“That’s a disparity that needs to be aggressively addressed, and Proposition 16 would allow us to do that,” he said.

Source: Californians to vote on racial, gender preference programs

The Worst Form of Affirmative Action: Sullivan on legacy admissions

Hard to argue:

The Worst Form of Affirmative Action

I’ve long believed that affirmative action is unjust, immoral, and racist. Open discrimination with racial bias is always poisonous and when it comes to access to critical institutions of higher learning, it’s a piece of social engineering that has been extended way past its expiration date.

I’m talking, of course, about legacy admissions: the open discrimination that favors the dumb rich over the bright poor and wealthy whites over the brown and black poor, as well as the permanently assaulted Asian-Americans. It’s how Jared Kushner — the dimmest of dim bulbs — walks around with a Harvard degree, thereby devaluing everyone else’s. Because his dad went there first and threw in what was effectively a bribe of an alleged $2.5 million.

ProPublica reports: “Overall, across six years, Harvard accepted 33.6 percent of legacy applicants, versus 5.9 percent of non-legacies, according to Duke economist Peter Arcidiacono, an expert witness for Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff challenging Harvard’s affirmative action policies.” This is therefore not a minor injustice; it’s a major scandal. And it has a manifest racial tilt: over a fifth of accepted white candidates are legacy admissions, recipients of a de facto white affirmative action program. In the 2019 class, 11.6 percent of incoming students are white legacy, more than the entire 11 percent who are African-American. It’s a boost that exceeds that given to Hispanics, Native Americans, and the poor. It’s giving the actual super-privileged more privilege, while narrowing the spaces available for truly deserving applicants.

Of course, I take the terribly naïve view that those most gifted intellectually should get into the best colleges, and that test scores are the most objective measure, with some credit for extracurriculars and personality. But if you hold this view, and oppose the use of race as an admissions tool, you simply have to concede that using money and family is just as noxious. I’d go further and make any abolition of racial affirmative action contingent upon the simultaneous abolition of legacy admissions. And I have no doubt that the places freed up could well increase minority representation in a way that requires no engineering, condescension, or left-racism.

If race-based affirmative action is to be abandoned — and it sure might with the new shape of the Supreme Court — it seems to me that conservatives, liberals, and even the left should unite, for once, against actual, tangible privilege and injustice. The Ivy League can take the financial hit, it seems to me. And a small effort to weaken our increasingly deep caste system in America in favor of meritocracy would be a huge benefit for us all. Plus: no more Kushners. What’s not to like?

via Did Trump Just Help Stop Brexit?

Harvard Accused Of ‘Racial Balancing’: Lawsuit Says Asian- Americans Treated Unfairly

Ongoing issue and debate in the US, which provokes the usual spill over in Canada:

In an intense legal battle over the role of race in Harvard University’s admissions policies, a group that is suing the school says Harvard lowers the rankings of Asian-American applicants in a way that is unconstitutional.

Harvard says that its admissions process is legal — and it notes that the plaintiff group, the Students for Fair Admissions, is backed by the same activist who previously challenged the University of Texas’ affirmative action policy.

The SFFA says Harvard uses “racial balancing” as part of its formula for admitting students and that the practice is illegal. In response, Harvard says the group is misinterpreting data that the highly competitive school shared about how it chooses students.

Citing a 2013 analysis by Harvard’s Office of Institutional Research, the SFFA said in a federal court filing on Friday that if academics were the only criterion, Asian-American students would have made up more than 43 percent of students who were admitted, rather than the actual 18.7 percent.

Even if other criteria — such as legacy students, athletic recruiting and extracurricular and personal attributes — are included, the plaintiffs say, the number of Asian-Americans at Harvard would still have risen to more than 26 percent.

Saying that the admission rate for whites outpaced that of Asian-Americans over a 10-year period — despite outperforming them in only the “personal” ratings — the plaintiffs allege that “being Asian American actually decreases the chances of admissions.”

In a statement, Harvard said on Friday that a full analysis of the data shows the school “does not discriminate against applicants from any group, including Asian-Americans, whose rate of admission has grown 29 percent over the last decade.”

Harvard says the OIR analysis was preliminary and that it will defend its approach to achieving a diverse school body and campus community.

Harvard told the court in Boston that the plaintiffs’ analysis paints “a dangerously inaccurate picture of Harvard College’s whole-person admissions process by omitting critical data and information factors, such as personal essays and teacher recommendations.”

The competing accusations are the latest salvos in more than 400 legal filings over the case, which pits Harvard against plaintiffs backed by Edward Blum, a former investment broker who has for decades challenged how institutions and governments incorporate race into their decision-making processes.

“We allege that Harvard has a hard, fast quota limiting the number of Asians it will admit,” Blum told NPR in 2014, when he first sued the school. “In addition to that, Harvard has a racial balancing policy that balances the percentages of African-Americans, Hispanics, whites and Asians.”

On Friday, the two sides put out a flurry of motions, memoranda and declarations, seeking summary judgments and showing how they intend to argue the case — which goes to trial in mid-October.

Citing “the undisputed evidence,” the SFFA said that Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asian-Americans and “engages in racial balancing.”

It also said, “Harvard neither gave serious, good faith consideration to nor took advantage of workable race-neutral alternatives.”

The university’s filings stated, “Harvard’s admissions process reviews each applicant as a whole person, using race flexibly and as only one factor among many.”

The school also said Blum’s group lacks the standing to pursue its case, saying, “SFFA is not a true membership organization that can sue on behalf of its members; it is a litigation vehicle designed to further the ideological objectives” of its founder.

To find plaintiffs for his case against Harvard (and a separate suit against the University of North Carolina), Blum’s organization put up the HarvardNotFair website, which asked, “Were You Denied Admission to Harvard? It may be because you’re the wrong race.”

Spurred by the SFFA case, Harvard has also drawn the scrutiny of the U.S. Justice Department, which opened a probe into the role of race in its admissions policies last November. The federal agency said it wanted to ensure the school was complying with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In doing so, the Trump administration showed it was willing to explore a potential case over a complaint that the Obama administration had dismissed.

At least two of Blum’s earlier suits have reached the Supreme Court, including the Texas admissions case (which was referred back to lower courts) and a challenge to part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (which successfully argued that the law’s coverage formula was outdated).

Source: Harvard Accused Of ‘Racial Balancing’: Lawsuit Says Asian- Americans Treated Unfairly

For Affirmative Action, Brazil Sets Up Controversial Boards To Determine Race: NPR

Orwellian. Self-identification is the only way, even if it risks some “gaming:”

Siqueira considers himself to be mixed race, known in Brazil as pardo, or brown.

“I consider myself to be a very typical Brazilian and I’ve always been very proud of it. In my dad’s family, my grandfather is black, my grandmother has Indian and white roots. And on my mother’s side they are mostly white, mostly Portuguese,” he said.

How he defines himself matters because he was required to self-identify on his application. In 2014, the government introduced a quota system for federal jobs. The affirmative action regulations require that 20 percent of all government positions be filled by people of color – either black or mixed race.

The problem came once the announcement of the appointments was made public.

People started investigating the background of who had gotten the slots. They got into Siqueira’s Instagram, his Facebook feed and they sent his personal photos to the government.

“A lot of people sent pictures saying, ‘Oh, this dude is white, he’s a fraud,'” Siqueira says.

Job Offer Put On Hold

People basically said he was gaming the system, lying about who and what he is to get one of the jobs. The backlash shocked him. He said he hadn’t even considered the quota system. He just put down what he considered himself to be.

But the controversy wouldn’t go away. The government was getting so much flack that it put Siqueira’s offer on hold.

And then the government went a step further.

In response to the outcry, they set up a kind of race committee to review his case, and a few others.

He was asked to present himself to a panel of seven diplomats in a room who would decide if he was really Afro-Brazilian, as he claimed.

They asked him a bunch of questions such as, “Since when do you consider yourself to be a person of this color?”

And then it was over.

What they decided was that he was not pardo, or mixed race. No explanation. No discussion. So he decided to sue.

And that’s when this story gets even more complicated. Because in order to “prove” that he was Afro-Brazilian, his lawyers needed to find some criteria. He went to seven dermatologists who used something called the Fitzpatrick scale that grades skin tone from one to seven, or whitest to darkest. The last doctor even had a special machine.

“Apparently on my face I’m a type four. Which would be like Jennifer Lopez or Dev Patel, Frida Pinto or John Stamos. On my limbs I would be type five, which is Halle Berry, Will Smith, Beyonce and Tiger Woods,” he said.

Like most people he has different skin tones on different parts of his body. But in none of these tests did he come out as lighter skinned.

He says the whole thing struck him as completely bizarre because identity, he says, is made up of more than just physical characteristics.

But this wasn’t just an isolated incident.

Mandatory For All Government Jobs

A few weeks ago, these race tribunals were made mandatory for all government jobs. In one state, they even issued guidelines about how to measure lip size, hair texture and nose width, something that for some has uncomfortable echoes of racist philosophies in the 19th century.

Source: For Affirmative Action, Brazil Sets Up Controversial Boards To Determine Race : Parallels : NPR

Don’t Blame Diversity for Distrust – NYTimes.com

Good piece by Maria Abascal and Delia Baldassarri on disadvantage and unequal opportunities being more important to trust than diversity:

For his own part, Professor Putnam filed an amicus brief in the Fisher case objecting to the use of his findings in arguments against affirmative action. In the brief, he states his belief that diversity can be beneficial in the long term, despite its short-term drawbacks.

Our research reveals that even in the short term, diversity is not to blame. We independently analyzed the same data set Professor Putnam used, and we demonstrate that disadvantage, not diversity, is responsible for distrust.

At first glance, our results resemble those of previous studies: People in more diverse communities report lower levels of trust. Scholars and columnists alike have taken this to mean that diversity reduces trust, but we argue that this interpretation is flawed.

A thought experiment sheds light on what is going on. Imagine two schools: a homogeneous school with all Dutch students and a diverse school with half Dutch students and half Bolivian students. If we are studying student height, we would most likely find that students in the diverse school are shorter, on average, than students in the homogeneous school. Hardly anyone would then argue that attending a diverse school makes students shorter. Dutch people are taller than Bolivians, on average, and this explains the difference between the schools. Substitute trust for height and communities for schools, and, based on a similar association between diversity and trust, scholars have concluded that living in a diverse community makes people less trusting.

The analogy isn’t perfect, but it draws attention to an important possibility: Trust, like height, might be determined by pre-existing differences between groups, rather than exposure to diversity. In the United States, blacks and Latinos report lower levels of trust than whites, regardless of the communities where they live. The average homogeneous community (defined as a census tract) in the United States is 84 percent white, whereas the average diverse community is 54 percent white. Together, these patterns indicate that diverse communities do not make people less trusting. Rather, distrust is higher in diverse communities because blacks and Latinos, who are more likely than whites to live in one, are less trusting to begin with.

If diversity doesn’t reduce trust, what does? According to our analysis, disadvantage accounts for lower levels of trust. If you have a low income, or less schooling, or are unemployed or experiencing housing instability, you are likely to report lower trust. To make matters worse, if your neighbors experience similar disadvantages, this compounds your distrust. Taken together, this suggests that it is not the diversity of a community that undermines trust, but rather the disadvantages that people in diverse communities face.

This is why blacks and Latinos report lower trust than whites: Socioeconomic and neighborhood disadvantages are more common among these groups. We suspect that blacks and Latinos also report lower trust for other reasons, including continuing discrimination, victimization by the police and hostile political rhetoric.

Finally, our only finding related to diversity confirms a familiar story about white intolerance toward minorities. Whites who live among more blacks and Latinos report slightly lower trust than those who live in predominately white communities. This is a far cry from the claim that the minorities who are diversifying the nation are responsible for declining levels of trust.

This distinction has important implications for the affirmative action debate and social policy in general: If diversity is the problem, then policies should aim to protect or even promote homogeneity. If, instead, whites’ bias against blacks and Latinos is partly to blame, then policies should aim to allay these biases and their consequences for targeted groups. This was part of President John F. Kennedy’s original rationale for affirmative action: to address unequal opportunities across “race, creed, color.” Many of the conditions that motivated Kennedy’s directive persist today. Blacks, Latinos and members of other disadvantaged groups still face unequal treatment across a range of arenas, from the labor market to housing to education.

The current debate on affirmative action is playing out in the context of widespread anxieties about the changing face of the nation. Research that links diversity to negative outcomes legitimizes these anxieties. And it doesn’t help that this research has found its way into arguments against affirmative action. But disadvantage and unequal opportunities, rather than diversity, present the biggest obstacles to our getting along. By doing away with affirmative action and limiting access to higher education for blacks and Latinos, we will aggravate the disadvantages these groups face, while accommodating the intolerance of whites toward minorities.

Source: Don’t Blame Diversity for Distrust – NYTimes.com

Fewer Asians Need Apply by Dennis Saffran, City Journal Winter 2016

While I tend to favour some degree of affirmative action to foster diversity and inclusion, this piece makes valid comparisons between previous discrimination of American Jews and current measures to restrict Asian Americans:

“Asians are typecast in college admissions offices as quasi-robots programmed by their parents to ace math and science tests,” Golden observes. A Yale student commenting on the Princeton OCR complaint put it more bluntly: “[T]here can be good reasons for the disproportionately low acceptance rates for many Asians. . . . Top-tier schools . . . look not only for good grades but for an interesting student who will bring something of value to the community.” A Boston Globe columnist noted that the comment “sounds a lot like what admissions officers say, but there’s a whiff of something else, too.”

The something else smells a lot like the attitude toward Jews 90 years ago. Now, as then, an upstart, achievement-oriented minority group has proved too successful under objective academic standards. And so, as Jews were in the 1920s, Asians today are deemed deficient in the highly subjective and discretionary “personal estimate of character” favored long ago by Harvard president Lowell. But while anti-Semitic elites of the 1920s were forthrightly reactionary, their grandchildren’s anti-Asian bigotry is concealed under a veneer of modern progressivism. This is not merely because it rechristens Lowell’s arbitrary criteria with the New Agey term “holistic” but more fundamentally because it is based on a stereotypical view of Asians as out of sync with liberal culture. The image of Asian students as one-dimensional test-taking robots, short on creative thinking, all too often resonates with modern liberal educators, with their disdain for testing and “rote” learning, which they see as inimical to a “frolic in the fields” concept of creativity. As former neoconservative-turned-leftist culture warrior Diane Ravitch articulated this philosophy: “I don’t care if my two grandsons . . . have higher or lower scores than children their age in . . . Japan [or] Korea. . . . [I] care that [they] are . . . curious about the world; are loved; learn to love learning; [and] are kind to their friends and to animals; . . . Let’s all read Walden, read poetry, listen to good music, visit a museum, look at the stars.”

The bias against a group seen as having a learning approach that rebukes this romantic idyll is reflected in the concern of liberal college administrators that their institutions not become majority Asian. As Golden told the New York Times, “The schools semiconsciously say to themselves, ‘We can’t have all Asians.’ ” It may be more than semiconscious. A former admissions officer at Wesleyan, Brown, and Columbia warns ominously in the same Times article that “if affirmative action is overthrown . . . our elite campuses will look like U.C.L.A. and Berkeley.” Golden recounts the experience of Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt in raising the discrimination issue with university officials: “They would say . . . ‘You wouldn’t want half the campus to be Chinese.’ ” Reinhardt had a good answer: “Well, why not?” As the director of Asian-American studies at Northwestern put it, “In the 1920s, people asked: will Harvard still be Harvard with so many Jews? Today we ask: will Harvard still be Harvard with so many Asians? Yale’s student population is 58 percent white and 18 percent Asian. Would it be such a calamity if those numbers were reversed?” It’s ironic that the same progressives who exult at the prospect of the United States becoming a majority-minority country fret at the far less disruptive prospect of Harvard or Yale becoming majority Asian.

Liberal discomfort with Asians can shade into outright hostility. Browbeating affirmative-action opponent Abigail Thernstrom in the wake of the passage of Prop. 209, Crossfire cohost Bob Beckel asked angrily, “Would you like to see . . . UCLA Law School 80 percent Asian? . . . . Will that make you happy?” The hostility is exacerbated by the unavoidable reality that affirmative action puts Asians in competition with African-Americans and Hispanics. Another study by Espenshade found that racial preferences for blacks and Latinos at elite colleges come almost entirely at the expense of Asian-Americans rather than whites. He and a colleague determined that if affirmative action were eliminated, “[n]early four out of every five places . . . not taken by African-American and Hispanic students would be filled by Asians.”

Racial-preference supporters argue that Asian students are harmed just as much by admissions preferences for legacies and athletes, which disproportionately benefit whites. Indeed, OCR dismissed the 1988 Harvard complaint based on a finding that any discrimination against Asians was explained by such preferences. The current Harvard lawsuit also attacks legacy preferences but for a different reason, arguing that their elimination would be a “race-neutral alternative” that would allow Harvard to admit more blacks and Latinos without resorting to race-based selection. I think that the plaintiffs are right, as a matter of fairness, to oppose legacy preferences (even though my daughter and I are both Harvard graduates, so our family may have benefited from them). However, Espenshade’s data show that their abolition would do little to benefit blacks, Latinos—or Asians.

Thus, this case necessarily brings into stark relief the ironic impact of race-based admissions preferences in today’s multiracial society. Whatever the justification for racial favoritism in the essentially biracial era of 1978, when Bakke was decided, the burden now falls largely on another historically marginalized racial minority—a group that is heavily foreign-born and that, while generally prosperous, still has large pockets of immigrant poverty. (See “The Plot Against Merit,” Summer 2014.) Affirmative action, the flagship policy of multiculturalists, has foundered on multiculturalism itself—and it’s time to pull the plug on it. The Harvard lawsuit provides the courts with a good opportunity to do so.

Source: Fewer Asians Need Apply by Dennis Saffran, City Journal Winter 2016

ICYMI: Abigail Fisher deserves an ‘F’ for her race-baiting Supreme Court case aimed at boosting subpar white students – Salon.com

The latest court case around affirmative action:

Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in what is easily the most baffling case it’s going to hear this session, yet another attack on affirmative action policies at state universities, in this case the University of Texas at Austin. If ever there was a case that has no business in front of the high court, it is this one. The suit is a nuisance suit, it’s poorly argued, it’s disingenuous, it’s been heard before and, to make everything even more bizarre, the plaintiff’s claim to injury is demonstrably untrue. This is a case that should have been laughed out of court years ago, but instead, this is the second time — second time! — it’s being presented in front of the Supreme Court.

 At stake is the claim made by Abigail Fisher, now 25, who hails from a wealthy suburb of Houston called Sugar Land, that she was deprived of her rightful admission at UT Austin because, in her view, some person of color who didn’t deserve it stole it from her.
Throughout her now seven-year campaign to make the school pay for not letting her in, Fisher has never been able to produce any evidence that the school tossed her application to make room for a less qualified minority applicant. That’s because, as UT Austin has maintained throughout this ordeal, Fisher was never getting in to their school. Fisher’s GPA and SAT scores weren’t high enough, and she didn’t have enough external accomplishments to convince the school to give her a shot otherwise. As Pro Publica explained at the time:

It’s true that the university, for whatever reason, offered provisional admission to some students with lower test scores and grades than Fisher. Five of those students were black or Latino. Forty-two were white.

Neither Fisher nor Blum mentioned those 42 applicants in interviews. Nor did they acknowledge the 168 black and Latino students with grades as good as or better than Fisher’s who were also denied entry into the university that year.

Fisher’s case only makes sense if you assume that people of color are inherently less worthy than white people. How else do you justify an argument that assumes that every white person should have been given a shot before minority students do?

This assumption of the inherent superiority of white people, even above those people of color who have more appealing applications, was reflected in Antonin Scalia’s remarks during today’s case.

Instead of telling her where to shove it, the Supreme Court sent Fisher’s case back to the appeals court. Now she and her lawyers are back again. This time, they’ve tweaked their argument a bit, trying to argue that diversity itself is an illegitimate goal for schools and, to add a bit of extra nastiness sauce to it, they’re claiming that diversity is bad for students of color.

In other words, Fisher and her lawyers are concern-trolling the Supreme Court.

Most of UT Austin’s admissions are on the basis of high school class standing — about 80 percent of its class in the year that Fisher applied. But the other 20 percent are determined in a holistic fashion, by looking at grades, extracurricular activities, test scores, writing samples, the usual stuff. Because of the school’s commitment to diversity, race and class background is also taken into consideration. Someone who shows potential but faced some obstacles gets a closer look than someone who hasn’t had similar obstacles.

When you read about this case, it quickly becomes self-evident why the admissions committee didn’t think Fisher had some hidden potential that wasn’t reflected in her grades. Fisher, however, has decided her unparalleled genius is going unnoticed because of the notorious racism against white people. But since that argument hasn’t gotten her very far, her lawyer, Edward Blum, is now trying a different tactic to argue that schools should admit mediocre white people over talented students of color: His claim is that  giving students of color an opportunity somehow hurts them.

Source: Abigail Fisher deserves an ‘F’ for her race-baiting Supreme Court case aimed at boosting subpar white students – Salon.com