WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 7, 2015) — OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is very concerned by two Supreme Court challenges to the one person, one vote principle and affirmative action policies in higher education.
Yesterday and today, the Supreme Court held oral arguments in the cases Evenwel v. Abbott and Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.
Evenwel considers the question of whether the “one-person, one-vote” principle under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause should allow States to use voter population instead of the total population in legislative redistricting. Those who would not be counted among the voter population include immigrants who have not yet become citizens, children, undocumented immigrants, and those disenfranchised because of felony convictions.
“The one-person, one-vote principle was expressly created so that minorities would have equal and fair representation in legislatures, and a ruling in favor of Evenwel would undo exactly that,” said Ken Lee, OCA Chief Executive Officer. “Redistricting plans based on voter population alone would leave thousands of Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants and 1.3 million undocumented Asian immigrants without proper representation in Congress and at the state level. Our legislators cannot represent only the people who vote for them, they must represent all the people residing in their district regardless of whether they are voters.”
In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the question is if the universities race-conscious admissions policies are contrary to the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This challenge is a part of a series of many other unsuccessful challenges to race-conscious admissions policies nationwide, and this is the second time this case will be heard before the Supreme Court. OCA signed onto an amicus brief led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice in support of the university.
“Let us be clear, race-conscious admissions are the only way to properly preserve the level of diversity needed to foster a successful campus learning climate,” said Ken Lee, OCA Chief Executive Officer. “This is not about the first four years of a students college career, this is about the 40 that will follow. Our children will not be better served by placing them in an environment where they only confront a tiny number of the broad spectrum of diverse people they will encounter throughout their career. Affirmative action has been, and will continue to be, a ladder to success for many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who wish to ascend to the top of their field. We unequivocally support diversity on campuses, the University of Texas, and race-conscious admissions policies.”
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).