Mon 24 Jun, 2013 03:59 pm
The 7-to-1 decision avoided giving a direct answer about the constitutionality of the program, from the University of Texas at Austin, which will allow it to continue for now. But the justices ordered an appeals court to reconsider the case under a demanding standard that appears to jeopardize the program.
The ruling was simultaneously modest and significant, and its recalibration of how courts review the constitutionality of race-conscious decisions by the government will reverberate beyond higher education.
The brief decision, issued eight months after the case was argued, was almost surely the product of intense negotiation among the justices.
The compromise that the majority reached was at least a reprieve for affirmative action in higher education, and civil rights groups that had feared for the future of race-conscious admission programs were relieved. But conservatives and other opponents of the current version of affirmative action vowed to use the court’s ruling as a road map to bring future cases.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by the four members of the court’s conservative wing — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — and two of its liberals, Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, writing that lower courts were correct to uphold the Texas program. Justice Elena Kagan disqualified herself from the case, presumably because she had worked on it as solicitor general in the Obama administration.
The decision did not disturb the Supreme Court’s general approach to affirmative action in admissions decisions, saying that educational diversity is an interest sufficient to overcome the general ban on racial classifications by the government. But the court added that public institutions must have good reasons for the particular methods they use to achieve that goal.
Colleges and universities, Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority, must demonstrate that “available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice” before taking account of race in admissions decisions.
What kind of color blind justice can this court dispense if it can't understand the inherent unfairness involved in ANY affirmative action program. The court is nothing but an instrument of marxist ideology being pushed down the throats of america's dumbest and dimmest.