Town Halls

Fighting for Equal Protection Affirmative Action & One-Person-One-Vote

Affirmative Action & One-Person-One-Vote

Evenwel v. Abbott begins at 2:52
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin begins at 29:25

In this town hall, Dr. John C. Eastman discusses two of the most important cases on the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket this term. 

On December 9, 2015, the Supreme Court revisited its decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin challenging racial preferences in higher education. In 2013, the Court first heard the case of Abigail Fisher, a white student denied admission to UT Austin. She challenged the constitutionality of the university's use of race as a factor it considered in admissions decisions. Instead of issuing a landmark ruling on the constitutionality of racial preferences in public university admissions, the Court punted, remanding the case back to the Fifth Circuit for another look. Ms. Fisher renewed her appeal to the Supreme Court after the Fifth Circuit ruled much the same as it had the first time, and the justices again have the opportunity to rule on the university’s use of race in its admissions process. The Center urged in its amicus brief that the Court do away with racial preferences once and for all.

In Evenwel v. Abbott, the Court is asked to consider the meaning of the “one-person-one-vote” principle. In it’s redistricting plan for state Senate districts, the Texas legislature counted the raw population of each district rather than the eligible voting population. The appellants in this case argue that this unfairly weighs the votes of citizens in districts with lower concentrations of eligible voters more than citizens in districts with higher concentrations. The Center also filed an amicus brief in this case arguing that it is unconstitutional to dilute the votes of some citizens to the benefit of others. The Supreme Court is now left to decide whether the Equal Protection Clause requires states to count eligible voters, rather than total population, in their apportioning of districts.

Dr. Eastman is joined by Ilya Shapiro for this town hall discussion. Mr. Shapiro is a Claremont Institute Lincoln Fellow and the senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review