By Stephen Menendian

The United States Supreme Court recently agreed to take up the case of Fisher v. University of Texas. The case will once more put the issue of affirmative action squarely into national focus just eight years after the Court upheld the use of race in the University of Michigan’s admissions decisions in Grutter v. Bollinger. By a 5-4 vote, the Court in Grutter upheld the use of race in university admissions, but placed strict limits on the practice. Now that the composition of the Court has changed, attention will fall on Justice Kennedy, the current Court’s critical swing vote. Since recent appointee Justice Kagan has recused herself from the case, on account of her participation in these cases in her previous role as solicitor general, the stakes are higher than ever. One way or the other, Justice Kennedy will decide the fate of affirmative action. His dissenting opinion inGrutter is a roadmap to the outcome in Fisher.

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The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established in 2003 as a center for interdisciplinary research at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.