Obama supports college admissions based on race
The Obama administration has asked a federal appeals court to uphold a race-conscious admissions system at the University of Texas at Austin, aiming to stymie a lawsuit that conservatives hope will spur the Supreme Court to limit affirmative action at public colleges.
The Texas case tests a 2003 Supreme Court decision that upheld a race-conscious admissions system at the University of Michigan Law School. That ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger said the law school had "a compelling interest in attaining a diverse student body." By a 5-4 vote, the court prohibited "outright racial balancing," but said race could be a "plus" factor to build a "critical mass" of minority students.
But the Grutter opinion's author, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, retired in 2006, and her successor, Justice Samuel Alito, has helped solidify a five-justice conservative majority that has been highly skeptical when government classifies people by race, even for assertedly benign purposes. . . .