Mike Kueber's Blog

February 21, 2012

Affirmative Action is back in the news – with Texas in the middle of it

Filed under: Issues,Law/justice,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 11:35 pm
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The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that, based on a pending affirmative-action case involving the University of Texas, it will reconsider its 2003 affirmative-action decision involving the University of Michigan. 

In the 2003 Michigan case, the court ruled 5-4 that a state university could consider race in its admissions decisions if doing so helped create a “critical mass” of minority students.  The decision, however, was authored by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who has retired and been replaced by ultra-conservative Justice Samuel Alito.  Furthermore, uber-liberal justice Elena Kagan has recused herself, apparently because of her previous involvement in the matter while she served as President Obama’s Solicitor General.  And finally, the Texas case has been substantively distinguished from the Michigan decision because in Texas, we already have a rule that grants admission to the top 10% of any Texas high school, and this rule by itself ensures that the University of Texas has the “critical mass” of minority students that the Michigan decision contemplated.

As I was reading about the Texas case, it struck me as odd that Texas is considered a blood-red conservative state, yet two of the most significant political/social issues in the news this past year have found the state of Texas opposing the national conservative consensus:

  1. Affirmative action.  While conservative red-state Texas pushes affirmative action as much as the law will allow, liberal blue-state California absolutely forbids any consideration of race.
  2. In-state tuition for illegal immigrants.  The decision of Texas to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants was one of the early chinks in Rick Perry’s armor. 

 Perhaps Texas has an undeserved reputation as a monolithic conservative bulwark.


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