In other words, instead of students attending colleges that match their academic background, training, and credentials, the racially discriminatory admissions programs of universities like the University of Texas push many students into universities where they are in the bottom of the class from the very start of their college careers. This leads to lower grades, lower graduation rates, and students dropping out of more academically rigorous disciplines like science and engineering – black and Hispanic students abandon those areas of study at much higher rates than whites.
Above and beyond the terrible, personal frustration this must cause individual students, it obviously hurts their long-term success in the careers and professions they would like to follow. Studies have shown that we have fewer black scientists, doctors, and engineers because of affirmative action, which is a detriment to all Americans and our economy.
Given the studies showing the damage caused by racial preference programs, it was entirely fair and appropriate for Scalia to ask the lawyer representing the university about the effects of discriminatory admissions on students. After all, the university has claimed that preferences benefit minority students.
The studies that bring that claim into question make perfect sense and have not been effectively refuted. How many of us can remember being in a class in school where we had problems because we were not as well prepared as others? We certainly remember the frustration and doubts that arose at certain points in our respective undergraduate careers at Xavier University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Can you imagine having that problem in all of your classes? Sure, you’re a bright, hard-working student who wants to succeed. But if you haven’t been prepared for the challenges and academic rigor of that particular class or that particular school, you’re set up for failure.
That was what Justice Scalia was asking about. It is what the Fisher case is ultimately all about. And it is a subject that the lawyers for the university and the Obama administration did their best to avoid talking about in their arguments before the Supreme Court. Why? Because they don’t have an answer to this problem
It’s enough to question whether they really care about these students as individuals. Rather, university administrators seem to care more about increasing “diversity” on their campuses and meeting the quotas they have internalized -- at the expense of what is best for individual students.
In his concurring opinion in the first Fisher decision in 2013, Justice Clarence Thomas observed that even though it may be “cloaked in good intentions, the university’s racial tinkering harms the very people it claims to be helping.” Apparently, Justice Scalia’s highlighting of that harm “is deeply concerning” to people like Harry Reid.
Elizabeth Slattery is Legal Fellow and Hans von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Von Spakovsky is the coauthor of “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk” (Encounter 2012) and “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department” (HarperCollins/Broadside 2014).
This piece originally appeared at PJMedia.com