‘Meh’: Supreme Court Punts on Affirmative Action

Driving force behind challenge to race-based admissions says ruling will restore colorblind principles

supreme courtAnyone hoping the Supreme Court justices would emphatically uphold or strike down affirmative action in college admissions was likely disappointed on Monday.

The justices’ decision to punt Fisher v. University of Texas case back to the lower courts for additional review had both sides claiming victory, the New York Times reports.

Civil rights groups that favor affirmative action welcomed the court’s ruling, on the grounds it upheld the 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger. That decision upheld that states have a compelling interest in achieving student diversity at public institutions, but must justify the use of race in admissions with “strict scrutiny.”

Edward Blum, a reported driving force behind the challenge to the University of Texas at Austin admissions practices, told the Times the decision instead “begins the restoration of the original colorblind principles to our nation’s civil rights laws.”

Under the requirement that race in admissions be subjected to a tough legal scrutiny, Blum said, “it is very unlikely that most institutions will be able to overcome these hurdles.”

We shall see.

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