9/24/2012

Summary of Arguments in University of Texas at Austin v. Fisher case, the case that could "finally put an end to racial preferences in university admissions"

Mention of recent research that I co-authored on the so-called "critical mass" claim upon which the Supreme Court's decision in Grutter was determined.  In University of Texas at Austin v. Fisher, the Fifth circuit court directly referenced the term "critical mass" 69 times.  The Weekly Standard has a rough summary of the case available here.  The discussion on my work is here:
Fourth, the University of Michigan hornswoggled the Supreme Court in 2003 by insisting that its law school never used numbers or percentages in preferring minorities, but was seeking nothing more than “a critical mass” of minority students. It was a clever and successful dodge. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, in his Grutter dissent, examined the numbers closely and demonstrated, with a clarity that ought to have embarrassed my university, that this position was an outright “sham.” Now in the amicus briefs in Fisher the “critical mass” theory gets a solid drubbing. Twenty-two distinguished scholars of economics and statistics from many universities join in one brief arguing that empirical evidence simply does not demonstrate “that minority students are benefited by a ‘critical mass’ of minorities in the classroom.” Indeed, they conclude, “No reliable empirical evidence known to [these] amici supports the critical mass theory.” 
They go on to present, in a detailed appendix, sets of comparisons of the performance of blacks and whites in classrooms of different sizes with different numbers of each. The “critical mass” theory is statistically demolished. . . .

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