CEPR Faculty Director Thomas Kane shares his insights on the role of evidence in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's decision in Fisher v. University of Texas.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas was largely overlooked, as it was quickly eclipsed by higher-profile decisions involving voting rights and same-sex marriage. However, the Court’s decision to remand to the lower courts clearly signaled their dissatisfaction with the evidence presented to them. If higher education leaders expect to preserve race-conscious admission policies, they will need to assemble much clearer evidence on the feasibility of race-neutral options.
In the Grutter case a decade ago, the University of Michigan and many friends of the court presented evidence on the educational and social value of racial and ethnic diversity on elite college campuses. In the Fisher case, the justices seemed willing to accept the validity of that evidence.
However, the justices were clearly dissatisfied with the evidence on another point: the practicality (or impracticality) of race-neutral means of achieving such diversity. Institutions will need to assemble much clearer evidence on race-neutral options if race-conscious policies are to survive.