Are we sometimes so protective of diversity that we hinder other races from successes earned? How does affirmative action apply when used by a public institution? These questions seem to be at the center of a significant constitutional dispute that has been pushed around the federal courts for the better part of a decade now.
In 2008, a woman applied for admission at the University of Texas at Austin and was turned down. The woman took the matter to the courts in a lawsuit claiming that the university’s race-conscious actions put in place to protect diversity subsequently prevented her from receiving equal treatment. She argued this policy was in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
She lost in 2009 to the U.S. District Court and the ruling was upheld in 2011 in the U.S. Court of Appeals. However, when the case went to the Supreme Court, the justices voted to send it back to the Court of Appeals and after a back and forth there, it was determined that the University’s admissions policy and procedure should fall under strict scrutiny to make sure the practices it employed were constitutional.
Whenever the government uses race as a tool for any kind of classification, it should not be a tool used often. In order for it to be justified, they must be able to prove it services a credible interest of the government and, secondly, if race is going to be used as a means of achieving that interest, its use must be restrictive and only used in a way to promote that specific interest.
While the credible government interest is to promote diversity, the question is: is the use of race in admissions the correct way to achieve that, particularly if there exists a less-restrictive way?
Our constitution protects us from being slighted based on race. If you are in Indiana and have felt this illegal slight, you have a case and would benefit from an employment law attorney who is familiar with the nuances of the law. Get a discussion started, change your life and maybe change the world.
Source: Reason.com, “SCOTUS Could Issue Major Ruling On Affirmative Action This Week,” Damon Root, June 13, 2016