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December 10, 2015


Not sure that percentage is correct, lj. The UT data states that enrollment of African Americans in 2014 was 4.4%. Still not huge, obviously, and doesn't take away from your larger point.

According to a Propublica story:

"It's true that the university, for whatever reason, offered provisional admission to some students with lower test scores and grades than Fisher. Five of those students were black or Latino. Forty-two were white.

Neither Fisher nor Blum mentioned those 42 applicants in interviews. Nor did they acknowledge the 168 black and Latino students with grades as good as or better than Fisher's who were also denied entry into the university that year. Also left unsaid is the fact that Fisher turned down a standard UT offer under which she could have gone to the university her sophomore year if she earned a 3.2 GPA at another Texas university school in her freshman year."


"What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?

That if Scalia, Alito, and Roberts fell from a great height at equal rates of speed and landed on Clarence Thomas's head simultaneously, you'd have four immediate openings on the Supreme Court and two bonus dead Italians, thus confirming the theory of Gravity?

Of more importance on the Austin campus this week is "what unique perspective does an armed right-winger bring to a physics class"?

Good points regards to number sapient. Here's a link about the total makeup of UTAustin

From that link

The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education found a 66 percent difference between the percentage of players on the UT football and basketball teams that are black and the percentage of black men in the total undergraduate student body — the highest such difference in the Big 12 Conference.

UT’s 1.6 percent black male presence is even lower than UCLA’s 3.3 percent, so this is clearly an area where improvement is needed.

Roberts also fails to take into account that there is a vast amount of education in college that takes place outside the classroom. Perhaps the majority (if not vast majority) of it.

The justification for affirmative action does get a bit squirrelly once it moves beyond "remedy for discrimination," it seems to me.

I guess you aren't allowed to ask the Justices questions, but I would have said to Roberts something like 'if that's the case, why don't we just give the students a book with all the formulas they need and let them work it out themselves?'

In the New Yorker: Study: Scalia Better Off in “Less Advanced” Court

Longer, but even funnier New Yorker piece: Five Supreme Court Cases from the Second Trump Administration

Thanks for the original link, Bruce B.


'Longer, but even funnier New Yorker piece: Five Supreme Court Cases from the Second Trump Administration'

I bid 2 No Trump.

Good points regards to number sapient.

Arithmetic quibbles: I thought it was mostly a matter of comparing enrollment totals versus comparing annual admission totals to enrollment. (Though I would think it more appropriate to compare enrollment totals to one another or to compare admission totals to one another, rather than mixing them. And, that aside, using the latter number for African-American admissions versus total enrollment, I get 0.5%, which is still miniscule. The smaller, earlier admission number, rounded rather than truncated, gets you 0.3%.)

The difference between those last two is 0.2%, so maybe that's what you meant, lj.

I bid 2 No Trump.

I'd bid 7 No Trump, on the theory that 7 years without Trump would be better than just 2. (Actually, I'd vote 8 No Trump if it were possible. Why put up with even 1 year of Trump?)

I hate being outbid like this.

I'm guessing the numbers Verrilli pointed to reflected enrollment numbers for the 25% of admissions where the University uses the holistic approach. 75% of undergrad enrollment comes from UT accepting any applicant in the top 10% of their high school class.

It appears that bridge players whose license plates refer to the game are in some danger.

Well, American Standard bidding does favour a strong No Trump opening...
whereas Brits are usually happy to open No Trump with any old sh*t.

For a white kid from a part of a state where you were unlikely to ever see a black person, a semester sharing a physics lab bench with an urban black guy is a highly educational experience.

I think Garre handled the question well. And indeed, the whole argument. Obviously CJ Roberts can't always rule for his protege, but this was a strong presentation, I think.

Some links for all:




Race brings out the worst of so-called 'conservatism'.

Scientists reply to Roberts


Sandra Day O'Connor - such an optimist. Almost Panglossian, in retrospect.

The Justices, being none of them educated in science (or engineering) themselves, seem to have rather odd ideas about what is useful in science and what is irrelevant. Perhaps it is the Supreme Court which is in need of some diversity -- the educational field kind.

But true objectivity can come only from total non-involvement (cf. celibate male priests making rules for use of the human reproductive system, in particular the female one). Being knowledgeable means bias.

And "reality has a liberal bias." (Actually, folks on the far left think that reality has a conservative bias. Since their ideology also has problems when it tries to deal with real people.)

seem to have rather odd ideas about what is useful in science and what is irrelevant...

An even odder ideas about what is constitutionally relevant.

Actually, folks on the far left think that reality has a conservative bias.

Ttch. No, society has a conservative bias, which causes people to misinterpret reality, which perfectly corresponds to theory, as being messy and unpredictable.

(This problem tends to mirror itself in all-encompassing theories everywhere on the political spectrum, to be honest.)

How about: Blacks can do physics? That's a perspective that might very well be new to the others.

Here's a problem with where SCOTUS gets its "facts."

Some of the factual assertions in recent amicus briefs would not pass muster in a high school research paper. But that has not stopped the Supreme Court from relying on them.
Some of the factual assertions in recent amicus briefs would not pass muster in a high school research paper. But that has not stopped the Supreme Court from relying on them.

Here's a problem with where SCOTUS gets its "facts."

And sometimes they just pull 'em out of nether regions.

One particular instance, some case involving FISA and secret court proceedings, Alito made reference to the 'courtroom in Independence Hall having to close its doors'.

Alito was an appellate court judge in Philly. And if he had actually toured Independence Hall, he'd have seen with his own eyes: the courtroom HAS NO DOORS, and the NPS guides explain why: so that justice is done publicly.

Yeah, perhaps he was just confused. But giving "Strip Search Sammy's" record of disingenuousness, it seems unlikely.

So, a contribution which fits my self-imposed rule of trying to comment with information rather than opinion (or at least not my opinion).

FWIW, and I am the only source:

By an accident of geography and history, the Chief Justice (or equivalent title - I am trying to protect their identity) of a jurisdiction far, far away is a very old friend of mine, whom I have known since student days. When s/he was in London not that long ago, maybe a year, we had lunch together

During our wide-ranging chat, I said "So I have read that foreign courts used frequently to cite SCOTUS judgements for precedent, because SCOTUS was widely admired, but that this is no longer the case in the wake of such judgements as Citizens United etc. Is this true?" To which my friend replied "Well, they are generally still widely read and admired, but we have learnt to completely disregard any judgements which seem influenced by party political considerations, and these do seem increasingly frequent."

Should have said, to quote Dante:

And I have told you this to make you grieve.

GftNC, I think we are all aware of the phenomena. While I grieve that it has happened, I can't really grieve that courts elsewhere are at least aware of it. After all, they need to know.

wj, of course you're right, but for me in America's ongoing scary descent there have been a few terrible moments of clarity, e.g."Oh my God, America is actually torturing people and justifying it", and this was another which somehow shockingly got to me, as someone particularly interested in the legal world, "OMG the rest of the world's courts no longer really respect SCOTUS". It's true that the all of you are probably becoming inured to this and no longer feel that shock, as numerous of you have already commented in these threads, but of course that's also frightening and shocking in itself. And the GOP frontrunner is "honoured" to be complimented by a gangster who he tolerantly acknowledges kills journalists. It's time to make America great again.....O tempora! O mores!

Sorry, not feeling well and possibly going overboard on the gloom factor. But then again, possibly not...

Americans, generally and with admitted aberations from time to time, are congenital optimists. Which I suspect is a large part of why most of us have not fallen into the gloom that you are experiencing.

We are worried about the trends we see. But retain the expectation (not just the hope) that we will get thru this. And without irreperable damage to our country and the world. We may be wrong, of course. But we live in hope.

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