Asian Americans Get Their Voice

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In an October 30, 2015 essay, Princeton Professor Russell K. Nieli provided an inciteful analysis of the Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, and what it could mean for the future of affirmative action in college admissions. Athough, in 2016, after Justice Scalia’s unexpected passing, and with Justice Kagan abstaining, the Supreme Court upheld the UT Austin admissions program in a narrow 4-3 decision, Professor Nieli correctly identifies the increasingly assertive role that Asian Americans now play in the battle to stop universities from discriminating by race in admissions:

“There is a third factor that may come into play in FisherII that I have written about in an earlier Minding-the-Campus article — the rise of an aggressive Asian legal challenge to racial preferences in college admissions.  No longer quiescent or content to play simply the non-complaining “model minority” role, many Asian-American groups in recent years have come together and taken a page from the history of the NAACP to pursue an aggressive litigation strategy challenging racial preferences on 14th Amendment grounds. This strategy is clearly on display in Fisher II with an outstanding legal brief filed by two Asian-American groups, the Asian American Legal Foundation and the Asian American Coalition for Education, the latter an umbrella group representing 117 separate Asian-American organizations.”

“The AALF/AACE brief urges the Supreme Court not merely to modify Grutter‘s diversity-enhancement justification for racial preferences, but to overrule Grutter entirely and abandon “diversity” as a legitimate criterion for discriminating based on race. The brief is a model of legal craftsmanship, informed scholarship, and moral punch that announces to the Justices — loud and clear — that Asians will no longer take the widespread discrimination against them with indifference or passivity. The Asians are not going to keep quiet anymore when the universities establish the same kind of ceiling quotas against them that they imposed on the Jews in an earlier period of American history.”

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