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IDEA Quest virtual Supreme Court submission updated

March 1st, 2016

Affirmative Brief Mireles and Reyna: IDEA Quest

Michael Mireles

Tanya Reyna

IDEA Quest College Preparatory

Edinburg, Texas

Table of Cited Authorities

Hope, Joan. “Data Show Persistence, Retention Improve Nationwide.” Enrollment Management Report

19.5 (2015): 8. Web. 18 Jan. 2016.

“Fall Enrollment at The University of Texas at Austin Reflects Continuing Trend Toward More Diverse

Student Population.” UT News The University of Texas at Austin . UT News, 18 Sept. 2008.

Web.Jan. 2016.

“A Colorblind Constitution: What Abigail Fisher’s Affirmative Action Case Is Really About.” Top

Stories. RSS .N.p., 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2016

“Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.” Oyez. ChicagoKent

College of Law at Illinois

Tech, n.d. Jan 17, 2016. < https://www.oyez.org/cases/1979/76811


“Grutter v. Bollinger.” Oyez. ChicagoKent

College of Law at Illinois Tech, n.d. Jan 17, 2016.

< https://www.oyez.org/cases/2002/02241


Wernz, Jackie. “The Impact of Fisher v. Texas on RaceConscious

Assignment Decisions in K12

Schools.” Legal Insights for School Leaders . Education Law Insights, 1 July 2013. Web. 18

Jan. 2016.

“Demographic Information.” Governor’s Budget Summary 20142015.

N.p.: n.p., 2015. N. pag. Print.

Perez, Erica. “Despite Diversity Efforts, UC Minority Enrollment down since Prop. 209.” California

Watch. Center for Investigative Reporting, 24 Feb. 2012. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.

“California Affirmative Action, Proposition 209 (1996) Ballotpedia.”

California Affirmative Action,

Proposition 209 (1996) Ballotpedia.

N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.

“The State of Higher Education in California.” (2015): n. pag. The Campaign for College Opportunity,

Apr. 2015. Web.

Statement of Facts

In 2008, caucasian Abigail Fisher applied to the University of Texas at Austin and was denied

acceptance. After having been rejected, Fisher represented herself, as well as numerous other caucasians,

in testifying that she was not equally viewed in the application process, thus evoking the question: Does

the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment permit the consideration of race in an undergraduate

admissions decision?

The holistic approach of University of Texas at Austin has caused significant controversy due to

the fact that its admissions office considers race as part of the “Academic Index/Personal Achievement

Index” (AI/PAI) score of applying students who do not meet the qualifications of automatic acceptance

through the “Top 10%” Texas law (HB 588) which constituted for approximately 81% of admitted

freshmen for the Fall 2008 class. UT’s model, while established to diversify the student body, is being

widely condemned by Americans arguing that its methods violate the Equal Protection Clause of 1868.

However, advocates of UT’s methods argue that the consideration of race promotes diversity amongst the

State University over a less preferable homogeneous student body and is vital in stimulating educational

propositions. This controversial issue is certainly one in which my partner and I were obliged to scrutinize

all aspects of, and, having done so, we contend with the University of Texas at Austin. The University of

Texas at Austin should be permitted to use race as a decisive factor in their application process

because it does not infringe on the rights of any U.S. citizen.

Statement of Argument

Abigail Fisher Did Not Meet the Requirements of UT

Being rejected from the 16th listed top public university in the nation, with an acceptance rate of

39.7%, is something a vast portion of prospective college students have experienced, throughout the state,

throughout the nation, and throughout the world. Abigail Fisher contends that she was not equally viewed

in the admissions process merely because of her race, she is however incapable of proving so. She lacks

any verification on her behalf, thus my partner and I maintain the position that she was equally viewed in

all aspects, and being rejected was solely based on her incompatibility as an ideal student of the

University of Texas at Austin.

The process in which UT Austin evaluates any submitted application is a holistic approach,

regardless of race or any other predominant factor. This means that socioeconomics, gender, the rigor of

taken classes, standardized test scores, essays, anything that has the potential of aiding an eager student in

attending the university, is looked at and compared with other prospective students.

Taking a look at Fisher’s grade point average (Huffington Post), she had a GPA of 3.59 (on a 4.0

scale); the standard GPA for UT is a 3.71, already putting Fisher at a disadvantage just through the

University’s mere consideration of a student’s GPA. More so, her SAT score was an 1180 (measured on

the former 1600point

scale), which were good but not sufficient in meeting the standards of the highly

selective flagship university.These two aspects of Fisher’s admission would have already placed her

amongst the 25th percentile of applying students, meaning that, in order for her to have been accepted,

other factors in her application would have had to have been protrude.

A major flaw in Abigail Fisher’s testimony is her failure to recognize and provide a rationale for

the 42 of 47 caucasian students who were admitted despite having lower AI/PAI scores than she did. On

the other end, UT Austin rejected 168 Latino and African American students with equal or better scores

than Fisher (Propublica).

If race is as determinate a factor as Fisher presumes it to be, then UT Austin should be looked at

not for its number of admitted minority groups, but rather for the number of caucasians admitted each

year. The University population in 2008, according to UT News, was 50,006; of these 50,006 students,

caucasians constituted for 27,234, over half of the entirety of the population. Caucasians currently account

for 45.1% of UT’s population, meaning that although the population of whites has dropped in the

university, it is no drastic number in which any individual should concern themselves with. Whites remain

the majority race, and are only followed by Hispanics who constitute for 19.5% of UT’s population. The

assumption that UT is prejudice towards whites in the application process, should be widely dismissed

because statistics and individual cases alone have proven this to be a false assertion.

How the University of Texas at Austin Meets Standards Set by Preceding Cases

The special program ran by Davis Medical School was found to have operated as a racial quota

because minority applicants in that program were rated only against one another rather than the entirety of

applicants. Sixteen places in a class of 100 were specifically reserved for applicants coming from this

special admissions program. This was the set quota that ceased the court case, causing them to rule in

favor of Bakke. The University of Texas at Austin does not operate in this manner; rather than reserving a

number of spots or claiming some percentage of their students in which they aspire to have represent

minority groups, UT has a narrowly tailored goal set to achieve diversity while maintaining the absence of

a set quota. This is very similar to the final decision in the 2003 Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger

which upheld that “the Equal Protection Clause does not prohibit the Law School’s narrowly tailored use

of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that

flow from a diverse student body.”

The 1978, the case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke set the standards that all

universities were meant to follow in order to avoid any claims of having violated the Equal Protection

Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In an 81

decision for Bakke, justices of this court contended that

any racial quota system supported by government violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To presume that

UT Austin maintained any system similar to that of Davis Medical School of the University of California

would be considerably erroneous for numerous reasons. First of all, each applicant of UT is holistically

evaluated, there are no special admissions programs specifically targeted for disadvantaged minority

groups. There is no cutoff GPA for certain students and none for others; each student’s application is

viewed in its entirety. There are an abundance of other factors that distinguish UT’s admissions process

from Davis Medical School’s, but what remains vital is the consideration of the status quota system that

justices claimed to have violated the Fourteenth Amendment; this is what UT Austin does not implement.

In her case, the plaintiff contends that UT Austin does not have a narrowly tailored goal,

something that has been demanded of all State Universities that consider race in their admissions process

following the Regents of the University of Cali v. Bakke court case. Her rationale behind this is that

because the Top Ten Percent program allowed automatic admissions to UT for diverse students at the

top of their high school classes” there is no further need to use race as a determinative factor in the

standard application process. However, the top 10% plan has not accomplished diversity as it was

intended to, as we see that whites constitute for a profound amount of UT’s population (54.5% of the

population in 2008 and 45% in present day). In addition to this, the 10% Plan has been drastically altered;

it now accepts only the top 7% of high school graduates, making it evermore strenuous and rigorous for

students of any race to be admitted through this process. Yet, we expect this to suffice; we expect

diversity to be achieved merely through the Top 10% Plan. Yes, this plan did account for 81% of admitted

freshmen in 2008, but since then it has shrunken to account for 70% of the 2015 admitted freshmen. And

of these newly admitted freshmen, whites remain the predominant race that form the 70% of admitted

freshmen of 2015. There is only the slightest chance of racial assimilation remaining present in The

University of Texas at Austin if the university relies only on the Top 10% Plan to accomplish this.

Moreover, as aforementioned, UT Austin follows the regulations set by the decision in Grutter vs.

Bollinger, 2003. UT’s consideration of race in its admission process has been defamed as a violation of

the Equal Protection Clause, which upholds that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction

the equal protection of the laws.” In this case, it is argued that because UT Austin is allowing race to be a

factor, those who do not benefit from such process primarily

caucasians and Asiansare

not being

viewed equally because race as a factor grants minority applicants more acclaim for equal if not lesser

academic achievements. What again fails to be recognized by the plaintiff’s side, however, is that this

very issue was addressed in Grutter vs. Bollinger when, in 1997, Barbara Grutter was denied admission

into the University of Michigan Law School. Bollinger contested that racial preferences in a student body

violated the Equal Protection Clause. Yet, in a 54

decision, the Fifth Circuit held that because Michigan

Law School implemented a narrowly tailored goalwhich

was the use of race in the admission processto

achieve a more diverse student body, the Equal Protection Clause was not violated. This decision has

become the cornerstone of UT’s admission process, which, in striving for a more diverse student body,

complies with the additional grounds established by Grutter vs. Bollinger: Because there is a state

compelling interest in creating educational benefits, and because there is an application of strict scrutiny,

the use of race in the admission process as a mean to increase the critical mass of minority studentbodies

is, by law, acceptable and just.

Why Race Is Such a Determinative Factor

Proposition 209, also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative, became the first enacted

legislation to contest affirmative action policies. Since its passing in November 5, 1996, many supporters

of the bill have contested that graduation rates for minorities in California’s higherlearning


have increased because of said legislation. However, mere growth in graduation rates, while an indicator

of relative university success, cannot be attributed to a bill that limits the enrollment opportunity of

minorities. In fact, while graduation rates have increased among all racial masses in California schools,

minority enrollment has dropped significantly. Within the first three years of the passing of Proposition

209, the number of admitted AfricanAmerican,

Latino and American Indian undergraduates decreased by

58%. Within the following decade, minority enrollment has increased although marginally and

unimpressively. This issue has been combated in 1996 and 2010 to no avail. More recently, this issue

allowed Gibor Basri, outgoing vice chancellor for equity and inclusion of UC Berkeley, to aid in the

creation of the “AfricanAmerican

Initiative.” As of today, AfricanAmerican

enrollment in UC Berkeley

accounts for 3% of the student population.

Minority enrollment in California colleges has shown a deteriorating increase since 1998 which is

discouraging since the Hispanic population in California has surpassed the commonplace majority of

white residents throughout the nation. Unsurprisingly, little effort to institute ethnic integration in

university bodies has resulted in a widening composite of Hispanics who are receiving fewer educational

opportunities because of the disappearance of systems such as an admissions process that considers race.

According to The Campaign for College Opportunity, “fewer than two in ten workingage

Latino adults

have a college degree.” This reality is accounted by the worsening oppositions Hispanics and other

minorities are progressively facing. Since its enactment, the “average total tuition and fees at UC, CSU,

and CCC increased by approximately 150 percent since 200304”

Even with the growing, average college

tuition fees, California’s appropriations has decreased from an average $9,220 in 2003 to $7,303 in 2013.

Such barriers have only have deterred the expected educational advancement that was suspected to result

from Proposition 209. With growing fees, lower minority enrollment and a widening educational gap

correlated to socioeconomic status, California is unintentionally cultivating a state where Hispanics

constitute the majority of the population yet are one of the most underrepresented in terms of higher

education, a crisis no state, not even Texas, could afford.

VI. Prayer

We pray that you overturn the 71

decision for Abigail Fisher. Not only did she fail to meet the

norm GPA and standardized test scores set by UT Austin, but a substantial amount of fellow caucasians

were admitted while having a lower AI/PAI score. Meanwhile, numerous members of minority groups

were denied admissions despite having a higher AI/PAI score than the plaintiff. We maintain the need for

the incorporation of affirmative action in assuring that individuals raised in lowincome,


communities are fostered in their aspirations to excel, thus bringing innovation to their hometown, and

essentially bettering the nation as a whole. Fisher was denied on the basis of valid rationale, and in no

way should the University of Texas at Austin, or the millions of Americans deriving from minority

groups, face the repercussions the court will uphold if it continues to fail in distinguishing the justice done

by UT in its use of race as a factor in the admissions process
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