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Affirmative Action

A Lady or a Tiger?: Thoughts on Fisher v. University of Texas and the Future of Race Preferences in America

Engage Volume 14, Issue 3 October 2013
Alison Somin February 19, 2014

civil rights - equalityThere are not many dull moments in the debate about race preferences in university admissions. Nevertheless, the issuance of the recent Fisher v. University of Texas case has often been painted as one of them. “In with a bang, out with a fizzle” is the title of one account of Fisher, and “Fisher’s big news: No big news” is the headline of another. But perhaps this perennially hot debate has not cooled down after all, and Fisher is better understood as a cliffhanger—one akin to the ending of Frank Stockton’s 1882 “The Lady or the Tiger?,” which famously leaves the protagonist uncertain whether a beautiful woman or a starved tiger will emerge from behind the door he is about to open....[Read Now!]

Affirmative Action & Gender Equity: New Rules Under Title IX?

Civil Rights Practice Group Newsletter - Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 1999
Jennifer C. Braceras May 05, 2009
Although the plain language of Title IX states unequivocally that schools are not required to grant "preferential or disparate treatment" to members of one sex in order to rectify a gender imbalance in an educational program or activity, the Department of Education regulations implementing Title IX have indeed created a vast and rigid quota system. A proposed common rule recently floated by the Clinton administration threatens to further expand the grip of quotas on our nation's educational institutions and on any and all institutions which receive federal funds and conduct any educational programs or activities.

Affirmative Action for Men? Strange Silences and Strange Bedfellows in the Public Debate over Discrimination Against Women in College Admissions

Engage Volume 12, Issue 3, November 2011
Gail Heriot, Alison Somin December 05, 2011

Affirmative Action for Men? Strange Silences and Strange Bedfellows in the Public Debate over Discrimination Against Women in College AdmissionsWhile some news reports indicate that discrimination against women on the basis of sex in college admissions is increasingly common, there has been relatively little public discussion about it—especially compared to the much more heated public debate concerning race-based affirmative action. Not surprisingly, therefore, there have been few attempts to study the extent of the problem systematically. One such attempt with which we are both familiar—a study by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights of sex discrimination at nineteen colleges and universities in the mid-Atlantic states—was unfortunately abandoned for what appear to be political rather than substantive reasons. Although the fate of the Commission’s probe may in part be explained by the Commission’s institutional quirks, the muddled politics surrounding the attempted probe may reflect in microcosm the muddled politics of the broader national debate. In this article, we discuss those politics and suggest that the lack of attention the issue has received to date may be unfair. [Read more!]

Affirmative Action in the Obama Era - Event Audio/Video

Shirley J. Wilcher, Theodore M. Shaw, Linda Chavez, Peter N. Kirsanow, Carlos T. Bea November 25, 2009
The Federalist Society's Civil Rights Practice Group hosted this panel discussion on Affirmative Action in the Obama Era at the 2009 National Lawyers Convention on Thursday, November 12, 2009. Panelists included Ms. Shirley J. Wilcher, Executive Director of the American Association for Affirmative Action; Prof. Theodore M. Shaw, Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University School of Law; Ms. Linda L. Chavez, Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity; Hon. Peter N. Kirsanow, Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and Judge Carlos T. Bea of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as the moderator.