Fisher v. University of Texas is in the news again. The case is before the Supreme Court again after having been vacated and remanded to the Fifth Circuit for reconsideration over two and a half years ago. The case is the latest in a series of decisions dating back over 35 years grappling with the (dubious) constitutionality of affirmative action-or as it is now euphemistically termed “race conscious admissions”-in public institutions of higher education. Since the Bakke decision in 1978, the Court has consistently held classroom diversity to be a “compelling state interest” and thus on par with such other compelling interests as national security and the protection of the fundamental rights of the citizenry.
Consider that. Diversity is considered to be as important an interest as protecting the nation from the machinations of foreign marauders intending to do it and its people ill.
There are two aspects of this case that I find particularly interesting, specifically the public vilification of the plaintiff as a bad plaintiff who wouldn’t have qualified for admission at UT anyway based on her SAT performance and her high school GPA, and the vitriol unleashed against Justice Scalia for some
hatefacts observations he made during oral arguments. The criticism launched against Fisher has been nothing less than a magnificent display of doublethink. Fisher’s detractors have criticized her for bringing the case, arguing that she wouldn’t have qualified for admission to an elite school like UT anyway given her underwhelming SAT scores and high school performance. These are the very same critics who approve of affirmative action, which is nothing more than programmatic justification for the admission of URM candidates who wouldn’t have otherwise qualified for admission to elite schools- due to their generally underwhelming SAT scores and high school performance.
Of course, her critics fail to grasp her argument. The argument was never that she was a stellar test taker and a superstar high school student who should have been granted admission as a matter of course. Her argument is simply that based on her test scores, had she been black or Latino, she would have more than likely been granted admission to UT as affirmative action initiatives make it permissible to accept URM candidates with less impressive academic profiles than would be acceptable for white (and marginally Asian) candidates. Her argument is that it is unconstitutional, indeed, unjust for the government to employ different standards for different groups of ostensibly equal citizens, especially when the application of these differing standards serves to disadvantage one group of citizens relative to other groups.
Naturally, this demonstrates the indisputable veracity of the “liberals think that only whites have agency” meme that has been swirling around the alternetz for awhile now. Fisher is ridiculed for being “too dumb” to have secured admission to A Good School. Presumably, her critics would have told her that she should have been better: she should have studied harder to improve her scores so as to ensure admission to the choicest of schools. The onus is completely upon her as a white person to succeed & her failure to do so is met with scorn and derision. When it comes to URMs however, they are viewed as being utterly incapable of performing to standards and of ever bringing themselves up to standards; it’s ridiculous to even suggest that they should try. So it stands to reason that the standards must be brought down to suit them.
Scalia, Scourge of the Left had this to say on the issue:
“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well. One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”
“I’m just not impressed by the fact the University of Texas may have fewer [blacks]. Maybe it ought to have fewer. I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible.”
He’s been blasted for these comments, but he’s absolutely correct. Excellent point poorly made, I’d say. But the data bear out his poorly articulated observations. The attrition rates for black public college attendees is astronomical for black students, and the remainder struggle to finish a four-year course of study. . .in six years. Considering that for 2007-2008, the school year during which Fisher sat for her SATs the black mean stood at 1280/2400 as compared to the overall mean of 1511/2400, this should come as no surprise. Compare both means to the UT mean of 1901/2400, and the nature of the problem becomes even clearer.
URM students who are admitted to elite public colleges are by and large unable to compete with the rest of the student body and would be better off attending schools where the academic aptitudes of the student body are more in line with their own. Instead, they are pushed into and through colleges where they either fail out or flounder even after selecting economically useless social justice courses of subjective study guaranteed to saddle them with mountains of debt, chips on their shoulders, and no useful skills.
Of course, none of this means anything. The Court has recently become populated by affirmative action nominees willing to contort the Constitution any which to justify their prefab conclusion that the Equal Protection clause exists in order to ensure that some Americans are more equally protected than others. The underachievers of today must ensure that the pathways to power remain available to the underachievers of tomorrow so that they too may succeed in spite of their mediocrity. As a result of Kagan’s recusal, the outcome will likely be a 4-4 decision – a worthless outcome, as it will create no binding precedent.
So why write about it? Simply because this case is a reminder. As we’ve always maintained here, diversity is not a value. It is an anti-value. It obliterates values. It is antithetical to values and principles, and it forces everything to genuflect before it. It perpetuates a culture of falsehood, failure, and lowered expectations that will ultimately level and destroy everything of worth within a civilization.