December 22, 2014

ACLU pleased with SCOTUS affirmative action ruling

The Supreme Court has left leaves affirmative action for college admissions intact – for now. Chris Ahmuty with the ACLU Wisconsin said the ACLU filed a “friend of the court” brief in the case out of Texas. The high court allowed affirmative action to survive in college admissions.

“Race was being used as one of many factors,” said Ahmuty. “They really didn’t set a new standard if review. They did not overturn the previous standard that they’d established a few years ago.”

But in kicking the case back to a federal appeals court for review, the justices set a tough standard known as “strict scrutiny.” Ahmuty said that means affirmative action programs at other schools, including the UW, will be closely scrutinized

“We’re glad that the court left intact the important principle that universities have a compelling interest in diversity, and that race can be one of many factors that a university may consider in a well crafted program,” Ahmuty said.

Ahmuty said the ACLU continues to see affirmative action as an important tool to ensure quality education for everyone, but he predicts additional litigation on the matter going forward. In the Texas case, a white woman claimed she was improperly denied admission to the University of Texas because of affirmative action, and alleged a violation of her civil rights.