Asian American Group Files Supreme Court Brief Opposing Race-Conscious Affirmative Action

The 80-20 National Asian American Educational Foundation and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights have filed an amicus brief Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the plaintiff in the Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case. The case is likely to result in a definitive ruling on the legality of race-conscious affirmative action in higher education.

The joint brief, signed by three other Asian American organizations, challenges race-conscious affirmative action, which is alleged to restrict the admission of Asian Americans at higher education institutions. The brief argues that contemporary affirmative action policies are similar to methods that were used to restrict Jewish student enrollment at American universities during the last century.

“Our brief gives a superb account of why the discrimination against [Asian-Americans], caused by a race-conscious admission policy is wrong. It also calls the [Supreme] Court’s attention to similar discrimination against Jewish American students in the past,” S.B. Woo, a former Lt. Governor of Delaware and the president of the 80-20 organization, said in a statement.

The brief argues that:

“Supporters of race-conscious admissions policies may bristle at any comparisons between supposedly beneficent, modern efforts to promote ‘diversity,’ and the historic forms of discrimination and exclusion directed against disfavored minorities, particularly Jews. But history reveals no distinction between the modern rationales for discriminatory practices and those invoked to justify quotas in an earlier era.”

Kenneth Marcus, president of The Brandeis Center and a former staff director of the federal Civil Rights Commission said in a statement that it “wasn’t right for the elite colleges to limit Jewish students then, it’s still not right to limit [Asian-Americans]  students now.”

According to a statement by Alan Gura, attorney for the joint filing, “Every facet of the discrimination that Asian-Americans face today in college admissions has been reflected in the Jewish experience.”

In addition to the 80-20 foundation and the Louis D. Brandeis Center, the National Federation of Indian American Associations, the Indian American Forum for Political Education, and the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin signed on to the amicus brief.