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The Death of Affirmative Action?Racialized Framing and the Fight Against Racial Preference in College Admissions$
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J. Scott Carter and Cameron Lippard

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529201116

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529201116.001.0001

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Case Study 2: The Fisher Supreme Court Cases against the University of Texas at Austin

Case Study 2: The Fisher Supreme Court Cases against the University of Texas at Austin

(p.155) 6 Case Study 2: The Fisher Supreme Court Cases against the University of Texas at Austin
The Death of Affirmative Action?

J. Scott Carter

Cameron D. Lippard

Policy Press

This chapter looks at the most recent case to challenge affirmative action in college admissions policies in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin (2013 and 2016). Like chapter 5, the purpose of this chapter is to understand precisely what supporters and opponents are saying about the controversial policy. That is, how are they framing the debate surrounding affirmative action. However, this chapter looks at how framing may have changed over a decade later. We again focus on amicus briefs submitted by social authorities to the U.S. Supreme Court who had interests in the outcome of the cases. While we were interested in variation in types of frames used in these two cases (Fisher I and II) relative to the Gratz and Grutter cases, we mainly focused on authors continued use of both color-blind and group threat frames to state their positions. While some nuanced changes were observed from Gratz/Grutter to Fisher, our findings revealed a great deal of consistency from case to case and that the briefs continued to rely on color-blind and threat frames to characterize the policy. Particularly among opponents’ briefs, threat frames suggested that whites, in general, were losing in a country consumed by liberal agendas of diversification and entitlements only afforded to unqualified and ill-prepared non-whites.

Keywords:   Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Color-blind Racism, Abstract Liberalism, Group Threat, Group Position

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