Epps on oral argument in Fisher: ‘Thoroughly unpleasant’

Garrett Epps jpeg

Professor Garrett Epps, the Supreme Court correspondent for The Atlantic, published a column Thursday about Fisher v. University of Texas, “Is Affirmative Action Finished?” The justices heard oral argument in the case Wednesday.

Calling Fisher the “the Flying Dutchman of law,” Epps characterized Wednesday’s oral argument as “thoroughly unpleasant.”

“The skeleton at the helm of the good ship Fisher is the Project for Fair Representation, a very determined conservative advocacy group; but the wind in its sails is the unrelenting hatred at least three, and probably four, justices feel for any program anywhere that uses race to advantage minorities in any way,” Epps wrote.

Epps described an exchange between Justice Antonin Scalia and attorney Gregory Garre, who represented the University of Texas:

Scalia, in response to Garre’s assertion that “diversity plummeted” when the use of race was dropped at other institutions, said, “There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less advanced school, a … slower track school where they do well.”

Continued Scalia: “I’m just not impressed by the fact that the University of Texas may have fewer. Maybe it ought to have fewer.”

Garre replied: “I don’t think the solution to the problems with student-body diversity can be to set up a system in which not only are minorities going to separate schools, they’re going to inferior schools.”

Learn more about Professor Epps. 

Click here to access the archive of Epps’s Atlantic columns.

 

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