Fisher v. University of Texas

Published date01 March 2014
Date01 March 2014
Subject MatterArticles
Administration & Society
2014, Vol. 46(2) 169 –180
© The Author(s) 2013
DOI: 10.1177/0095399713515877
Fisher v. University
of Texas: A Call
for Democratic
Constitutionalism in
Promoting Diversity
Norma M. Riccucci1
The eminent scholar John Rohr in one of his many treatises argued that
as we progress through time, the U.S. Supreme Court becomes more
socially adaptable in terms of its interpretation of race issues under the U.S.
Constitution. He also pointed out that the courts should be working with
policy makers responding to the demands of the day, to promote vital goals
such as diversity in higher education. This article illustrates the evolution
of affirmative action qua diversity over time, and shows that through the
progression of time, the High Court’s decisions on diversity or affirmative
action programs have become more enlightened, certainly reflecting the
values of policy makers as well as societal norms. In 2013, the Court agreed
to hear an appeal to Fifth Circuit’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at
Austin, which upheld the use of affirmative action in accordance with Grutter
as well as Bakke. If the Court had overturned these decisions, it would
have single-handedly destroyed decades of progress made around diversity
in university settings, and concomitantly disdainfully rejected the values of
the American people. Instead, the Court sent Fisher back to the lower court,
instructing it to apply strict scrutiny to the University of Texas’ claim that
its program was narrowly tailored, thereby leaving open the possibility that
affirmative action, as framed by Grutter and Bakke, will not survive.
1Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, USA
Corresponding Author:
Norma M. Riccucci, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University, 111
Washington Street, CPS 337, Newark, NJ 07102, USA.
515877AASXXX10.1177/0095399713515877Administration & SocietyRiccucci

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