By Sheen S. Levine and David Stark in the New York Times
Affirmative action is back before the Supreme Court today. The court has agreed to hear, for the second time, the case of Abigail Fisher, a white applicant who claims that she was rejected by the University of Texas at Austin because of her race. Ms. Fisher invokes the promise of equal protection contained in the 14th Amendment, reminding us that judging people by their ancestry, rather than by their merits, risks demeaning their dignity.
Upholding affirmative action in 2003, in Grutter v. Bollinger, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor argued that it served the intellectual purpose of a university. Writing for the majority, she described how the University of Michigan aspired to enhance diversity not only to improve the prospects of certain groups of students, but also to enrich everyone’s education.