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ERIC Number: EJ999732
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-189X
Affirmative Action Hanging in the Balance: Giving Voice to the Research Community in the Supreme Court
Orfield, Gary
Educational Researcher, v42 n3 p179-181 Apr 2013
Good research does not mean good policy, but policy or legal conclusions that rely on false assumptions are certain to be bad. When the rights of U.S. students of color are at stake, the Supreme Courts need the best research findings the country can offer. The U.S. Constitution contains sweeping and undefined terms. Reaching a conclusion about the meaning of the great 14th Amendment guarantee of "equal protection of the laws" depends on the Court's understanding of complex facts about complex universities and the extraordinary role they play in contemporary society. Today, the Courts must determine what rights created after the Civil War mean in a society now far more diverse than during the first two centuries of U.S. history. During the civil rights era, there was a solid majority on the Court who believed that a history of discrimination and inequality meant that race-conscious action was essential if Americans were to achieve genuine equal opportunity in a society where Black and Latino students have always had unequal preparation. Conservative governments, however, insisted that affirmative policies were no longer needed and were unfair to Whites, and their judicial appointments led the courts to give much more attention to this issue. When the highest court in the land is seriously considering overturning its precedents by reinterpreting the facts about a number of these issues just a decade after it supposedly settled the question of affirmative action, it is critical to try to put what one has learned in research before the judges who decide the issue. The Civil Rights Project convened a group of researchers to create a brief on the issue of whether any nonracial alternative, such as socioeconomic status, could produce diverse campuses. Because the majority of the Court had affirmed the educational and social value of integrated education, this was likely to be the central question in a decision. The brief was developed in an ongoing intellectual exchange of a group of leading researchers identifying the most important research and data to place before the Court. There were, of course, many briefs submitted by different higher education associations and universities, civil rights groups and others, and a much smaller number opposing affirmative action. The Supreme Court does not have to pay attention to any of them, but they are there as a possible basis for the decision.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Bakke v Regents of University of California; Fourteenth Amendment; Grutter et al v Bollinger et al; Plessy v Ferguson