Bold headlines dominated the globe this year after the U.S. Supreme Court decided health care should remain affordable for all people and, in a separate ruling, ensured #LoveWins for same-sex couples across the country. Now, observers are keeping a cautious eye on a case whose outcome could either bolster or destroy affirmative action altogether.
The issue centers around the topic of factoring race into the college admissions process. As it now stands, the affirmative action policy allows for the idea that historically underrepresented groups, mainly people of color, should gain equity in the admissions process. Detractors have long said such policies are unfair to Caucasian students, who then allegedly lose university spots because non-White people, with allegedly lower test scores, “win” the seats.
Abigail Fisher, a young White woman who was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 2008, claims she is a victim of affirmative action because the school’s policy factors into why she was denied. (Never mind that the institution’s policy stated all Texas high school students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their classes would be automatically admitted— it’s 8 percent today—and that Fisher did not graduate among that number.) Her case will be heard by the Supreme Court for a second time after being dismissed to a lower court in 2013. That the highest court in the land will hear the case twice is a huge deal.