On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case many court watchers believe will lead to the functional end of affirmative action in higher education. That it is before the Court at all—an extraordinarily short nine years after the justices’ last ruling, which already shaped deeply admissions’ policies—is a testament to the conservative legal campaign against affirmative action.
The arguments of the plaintiff, a white UT-Austin applicant named Abigail Fisher who was denied admission, echo the bizarrely simplistic notion articulated by Chief Justice John Roberts. “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” Roberts has famously declared. Of course, what he really means is to ignore history, turn a blind eye to all the social science data on widespread inequity today and pretend that we live in a colorblind world. But Roberts leads a court that observers believe will agree with him on affirmative action, at least.
In order to understand how we got to this legal crossroads, it is important to look back to the cases that preceded Fisher. Read more here.