In the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 Fisher v. Texas decision, the court reaffirmed the constitutionality of affirmative action. The 7-1 majority decision specifically states that “the attainment of a diverse student body is a constitutionally permissible goal for an institution of higher education” and that “racial classifications are constitutional if they are narrowly tailored to further [this] compelling governmental interest.” At the same time, the decision narrows a public university’s ability to use race-conscious policies to pursue racial diversity, by mandating that a university first exhaust all “nonracial” methods for promoting diversity and only turn to race-conscious policies after finding that “no workable race-neutral alternative would produce the educational benefits of diversity.” In short, racial diversity is upheld as a value at the same time that an additional hurdle is imposed on effectively pursuing it.
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