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Media Advisory: Johns Hopkins experts available to discuss Supreme Court action on Fisher v. University of Texas

June 24, 2013
Media Contact: Jill Rosen
Office: (443) 287-9960
Cell: (443) 547-8805

Supreme Court Fisher Decision: Lester K. Spence, an expert in racial politics and American political thought, and Joel Grossman, an expert in constitutional law, can discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Fisher v. University of Texas case.

The Supreme Court today issued a ruling on the long-awaited Fisher v. University of Texas, sending the case back to the lower courts for closer review. The high court did not offer an opinion on whether colleges may consider the use of race in admissions. In the 7-1 ruling, the Supreme Court found that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit did not apply “strict scrutiny” to the polices of the University of Texas at Austin.

Abigail Fisher brought the affirmative case in 2008, questioning whether the University of Texas can consider race as a factor in admissions. Fisher applied to the University of Texas at Austin, but was denied admission. She alleges that the university discriminated against her on the basis of her race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Fisher is white. The University of Texas at Austin accepts students in the top ten percent of each Texas high school’s graduating class, regardless of their race. In 2008, 81 percent of the freshman class was admitted under that top ten percent plan. Fisher was in the top 12th percent of her class.

Lester Spence, an associate professor of political science in Johns Hopkins University’s Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, can discuss the racial politics of the case as well the decision’s implications for top tier universities.

Spence’s most recent book, “Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-Hop and Black Politics,” was the 2013 National Conference of Black Political Scientists Best Book Award winner. He has appeared on NPR and his work as been published in the Washington Post, thegrio, Salon, the American Journal of Political Science and the National Political Science Review.

To speak to Spence, contact Jill Rosen at 443-287-9960, 443-547-8805 or jrosen@jhu.edu.

Joel Grossman, A professor of political science in Johns Hopkins’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and an adjunct professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law, has spent nearly 50 years studying and teaching about the Supreme Court, American politics and law. Grossman has been widely quoted and interviewed in local and national media on Supreme Court issues and cases.

Prior to coming to Johns Hopkins in 1996, Grossman taught for many years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was chair of the political science department. He also has been a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and Stockholm University. He has served as editor of Law & Society Review and is the author of numerous books and articles on the Supreme Court, constitutional law and judicial politics.

To speak to Grossman, contact him at JBG19@jhu.edu or call him at 410-372-0095, or contact Jill Rosen.


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