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更新时间:2016-6-25 7:58:15 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Supreme Court Upholds Affirmative Action Program at University of Texas

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to a race-conscious admissions program at the University of Texas at Austin, handing supporters of affirmative action a major victory.

华盛顿——本周四,得克萨斯大学奥斯汀分校(University of Texas at Austin)一个具有种族意识的招生计划遭受的挑战被最高法院驳回,平权行动的支持者们获得了重大胜利。

The decision, Fisher v. University of Texas, No. 14-981, concerned an unusual program and contained a warning to other universities that not all affirmative action programs will pass constitutional muster. But the ruling’s basic message was that admissions officials may continue to consider race as one factor among many in ensuring a diverse student body.

该案件是费希尔诉得克萨斯大学案(Fisher v. University of Texas),第14-981号,法院的裁决涉及一个不同寻常的招生计划,同时也向其他大学发出了一个警告:并不是所有的平权行动计划都符合宪法规定。但这个裁决的基本信息是,招生官员可以继续把族裔作为一个考虑因素,和其他很多因素一起来确保学生的多元化。

The decision, by a 4-3 vote, was unexpected. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the author of the majority opinion, has long been skeptical of race-sensitive programs and had never before voted to uphold an affirmative action plan. He dissented in the last major affirmative action case.

该裁决以4比3票数通过,让人感到意外。主要意见书作者、大法官安东尼·M·肯尼迪(Anthony M. Kennedy)一贯对种族敏感的项目持怀疑态度,之前从来没有在投票中支持过平权行动计划。在上一次的重大平权行动案例中,他属于异议方。

Supporters of affirmative action hailed the decision as a landmark.


“No decision since Brown v. Board of Education has been as important as Fisher will prove to be in the long history of racial inclusion and educational diversity,” said Laurence H. Tribe, a law professor at Harvard, referring to the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision striking down segregated public schools.

“在种族包容和教育多样性的历史长河中,事实将会证明,自从布朗诉教育局(Brown v. Board of Education)以来,还没有出现过费希尔这样重要的案件,”哈佛大学法学教授劳伦斯·H·特赖布(Laurence H. Tribe)说。在他所说的布朗案中,最高法院于1954年裁决废除公立学校的种族隔离制度。

Roger Clegg, the president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, which supports colorblind policies, said the decision, though disappointing, was only a temporary setback.

机会均等中心(Center for Equal Opportunity)的主席罗杰·克莱格(Roger Clegg)支持不分肤色的政策,他说,这一裁决虽然令人失望,但挫折只是暂时的。

“The court’s decision leaves plenty of room for future challenges to racial preference policies at other schools,” he said. “The struggle goes on.”


President Barack Obama hailed the decision. “I’m pleased that the Supreme Court upheld the basic notion that diversity is an important value in our society,” he told reporters at the White House. “We are not a country that guarantees equal outcomes, but we do strive to provide an equal shot to everybody.”


Kennedy, writing for the majority, said courts must give universities substantial but not total leeway in designing their admissions programs.


“A university is in large part defined by those intangible ‘qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness,'” Kennedy wrote, quoting from a landmark desegregation case. “Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission.”


“But still,” Kennedy added, “it remains an enduring challenge to our nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity.”


Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined Kennedy’s majority opinion. Justice Elena Kagan, who would most likely have voted with the majority, was recused from the case because she had worked on it as solicitor general.

大法官鲁思·巴德尔·金斯伯格(Ruth Bader Ginsburg)、史蒂芬·G·布雷耶(Stephen G. Breyer)、索尼娅·索托马约尔(Sonia Sotomayor)与肯尼迪意见相似。大法官埃琳娜·卡根(Elena Kagan)很有可能也属于这一方,不过她曾作为副司法部长参与过此案,因此需回避。

In a lengthy and impassioned dissent delivered from the bench, a sign of deep disagreement, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. denounced the court’s ruling, saying that the university had not demonstrated the need for race-based admissions and that the Texas program benefited advantaged students over impoverished ones.

由大法官小塞缪尔·A·阿利托(Samuel A. Alito Jr.)执笔的不同意见书篇幅很长,且措辞激烈,表明双方存在严重分歧,意见书谴责了最高法院的这个裁决,称该大学没有展示出他们有依据种族来招生的需要,而且相对于贫困学生,条件好的学生更能从这个招生计划中受益。

“This is affirmative action gone berserk,” Alito told his colleagues, adding that what they had done in the case was misguided and “is simply wrong.”


Under the University of Texas’ admissions program, most applicants from within the state are admitted under a part of the program that guarantees admission to top students in every high school in the state. This is often called the Top 10 Percent program, though the percentage cutoff can vary by year.


The Top 10 Percent program has produced significant racial and ethnic diversity. In 2011, for instance, 26 percent of freshmen who enrolled under the program were Hispanic, and 6 percent were black. The population of Texas is about 38 percent Hispanic and 12 percent black.


The case challenged a second part of the admissions program. Under it, remaining students from Texas and elsewhere are considered under standards that take into account academic achievement and other factors, including race and ethnicity. Many colleges and universities base all of their admissions decisions on such holistic grounds.


Thursday’s case was brought by Abigail Fisher, a white woman who said the university had denied her admission based on her race. She has since graduated from Louisiana State University.

周四被驳回的案件是由白人女子阿比盖尔·费希尔(Abigail Fisher)提起的。她说得克萨斯大学奥斯汀分校因为种族原因拒绝录取她。目前,她已从路易斯安那州立大学(Louisiana State University)毕业。

“I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has ruled that students applying to the University of Texas can be treated differently because of their race or ethnicity,” Fisher said in a statement Thursday. “I hope that the nation will one day move beyond affirmative action.”