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Agree? Supreme Court sets limit on the use of affirmative action

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON – According to a ruling Monday involving two white students denied enrollment at the University of Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court has placed limits on the use of affirmative action by state schools.

The University of Texas at Austin considers race as one of various factors in its undergraduate admissions process. The University has committed itself to increasing racial minority enrollment on campus. It refers to this goal as a “critical mass.”

The court cited specifically that “the Fourteenth Amendment provides that no State shall ‘deny to any person . . . the equal protection of the laws.’  The Equal Protection Clause guarantees every person the right to be treated equally by the State, without regard to race.

“At the heart of this [guarantee] lies the principle that the government must treat citizens as individuals, and not as members of racial, ethnic, or religious groups.”

The court remarked in its opinion that it must be “necessary” for the university or school to use race to achieve the educational benefits of diversity. The reviewing court must ultimately be satisfied that no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity.”

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