School of Law News
USD School of Law Professor Gail Heriot
(San Diego) December 6, 2011 – Today USD School of Law Professor Gail Heriot appeared on the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal Live program hosted by Jason Riley. The program airs on the newspaper’s website online.wsj.com. As one of the nation’s leading affirmative action experts and a member of the U.S. Commission for Civil Rights, Professor Heriot commented on the new set of guidelines released by the Obama administration on Friday, December 2, on how to increase diversity on college campuses in light of some 2003 Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action.
“On the whole, the guidelines are a victory for higher education’s use of race-based admissions policies,” said Heriot as she explained the differences between the George W. Bush administration’s guidelines and the Barak Obama administration’s new guidelines.
Heriot stated the Bush guidelines tried to assist colleges in finding exactly where the line should be drawn with regards to race-based admissions. In one example, Heriot stated the guidelines explicitly point out that quotas are illegal.
“You simply cannot decide you’re going to have a certain number of seats set aside and given to students of a particular racial group,” said Heriot. “The Obama guidelines do not mention quotas in that way.”
Heriot thinks that both are intended to be honest efforts to accurately state the law, but doesn’t think they are equally successful. She feels the Obama administration guidelines celebrate diversity and the use of racial preferences in college and university admissions by pushing a broader, more loosely defined interpretation of the judicial opinions of affirmative action cases.
Heriot went on to predict an increased likelihood the Supreme Court will hear Fisher v. University of Texas based, in part, on the Obama administration’s new guidelines.
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