Ours has become a multicultural society, but despite this, or more likely because of it, the areas of social policy that touch on race and ethnicity are marked by evasions and prevarications. The diversity justification for race and ethnic preferences at universities is a case in point. The notion that universities are actually interested in fostering diverse views is belied by their general complacency with their politically homogeneous faculties and the political correctness they tolerate and indeed often foster on campus. The claimed interest in avoiding stereotypes is hardly advanced by admitting students with standardized test scores in many cases almost a standard deviation lower. To the contrary, as predicted by Judge Macklin Fleming in letter to the Dean of the Yale law school in 1969, differential admission standards have led to lower standards of academic dialogue on our most contentious subjects and a politicized atmosphere on campus.
Thus, it is not surprising that Supreme Court decisions in the area are notable for their obfuscation and, to put it charitably, economy with truth. Fisher v. Texas II continues and indeed deepens this tendency. First, it proclaims that it is applying strict scrutiny to Texas’ decision to use racial preferences even when its plan admitting the top ten percent of each high school class results in a substantial percentage of minority students. But while strict scrutiny is generally fatal in fact here it becomes instead a lenient standard of review.