Affirmative Action Survives The Supreme Court — Barely
By a 7-1 vote, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that the use of race-based affirmative action must be held to a heightened scrutiny that allows it to be used only if it is the sole means of increasing diversity on campus. They sent the case of Fisher v. University of Texas back to the Federal Court of Appeals to be reviewed by that standard.
“The University must prove that the means chosen by the University to attain diversity are narrowly tailored to that goal. On this point, the University receives no deference,”Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “Strict scrutiny must not be strict in theory but feeble in fact.”
The case was built upon 2003′s landmark decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, which held that race may be a factor in increasing diversity, though quotas may not be used. In her majority decision, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote, “The court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.”