The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in favor of the affirmative action program at the University of Texas-Austin. The court’s 4-3 vote will uphold the institution’s “race-conscious” admissions program which has provided the school with an ethnically and racially diverse student body.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, was released Monday, Talking Points Memo reports. Only seven justices weighed in on the case, as Kennedy’s concurrent vote was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Lone African-American Justice Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito both submitted dissenting opinions.
Affirmative action supporters rejoiced at the Supreme Court’s decision; but a woman named Abigail Fisher found herself to be the butt of everyone’s jokes. Fisher filed a lawsuit in 2008 after she was denied entry into the University of Texas. In the case Fisher v. University of Texas, the young woman, who is white, claimed she was rejected because of her race. Her suit challenged the school’s affirmative action program, asserting that African-American and Hispanic students with lower credentials were granted admission over her.
According to the Washington Post, Fisher was admitted to another UT campus with the possibility of transferring at a later date, but she opted to attend school out of state at Louisiana State University.
The majority vote came after justices determined Fisher failed to prove the university violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause, Talking Points Memo reports. Justice Thomas, who cast a dissenting vote, wrote to reaffirm that “a State’s use of race in higher education admissions decisions is categorically prohibited” by the aforementioned clause.
“That constitutional imperative does not change in the face of a ‘faddish theor[y]’ that racial discrimination may produce ‘educational benefits,’ ” his opinion reads.
According to The New York Times, a large majority of UT students from within the state are admitted through a part of the program that guarantees admittance to those who’ve graduated in the top 10 percent of their class. The statute is more commonly known as the “Top 10 Percent” program. Students in the top 10 percentile make up three-quarters of the institution’s incoming class, regardless of race, Talking Points Memo reports.
Fisher’s case challenged the second part of the university’s admissions program; all other students from Texas and beyond are considered for admittance based on factors such as grades, academic achievements, etc. Prospective students’ race and ethnicity are taken into consideration as well, The New York Times states.
Fisher didn’t fall into the elite top 10 percent category, however. So, her denied admittance to UT probably had more to do with her failure to reach the Top 10 Percent program rather than affirmative action.
Since the ruling, Fisher’s critics have taken to Twitter, blasting the young woman for her shameless display of entitlement. They’ve even deemed her #BeckyWithTheBadGrades.
— Kimberly Hallums (@KimmieIs2Real) June 23, 2016
Our favorite whiny, privileged, and entitled Texan loses again. #AbigailFisher
— Andrea Noricel (@andreanoricel) June 23, 2016
— DanielleMoodie-Mills (@DeeTwoCents) June 23, 2016
— Candis McLean (@Candisrm29) June 23, 2016
#Beckywiththebadgrades is giving me life today. Don't cry about your lost white privilege if you don't meet basic standards for admission.
— Emily C. Heath (@emilycheath) June 23, 2016
While the Supreme Court ruled in favor of UT’s affirmative action program, Justice Kennedy urges the university to review the program’s efficacy every so often.
“The University, however, does have a continuing obligation to satisfy the strict scrutiny burden: by periodically reassessing the admission program’s constitutionality, and efficacy, in light of the school’s experience and the data it has gathered since adopting its admissions plan, and by tailoring its approach to ensure that race plays no greater role than is necessary to meet its compelling interests,” Kennedy wrote.