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Expert Alert

U of M professors available to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Fisher v. University of Texas

October 8, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday, Oct. 10 on Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that will consider whether race can be one of many factors considered in college admissions.

Abigail Fisher, the plaintiff, was denied admission to the University of Texas in 2008 and claims her rights were violated under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The University of Texas accepts all students who finish in the top 10 percent of their high school classes; Fisher fell short of that and was placed in a pool of students considered for acceptance on the basis of talent, leadership and family circumstances.

The following University of Minnesota experts are available to discuss both the Fisher case and the U.S. Supreme Court generally:

Timothy Johnson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts, Political Science

Johnson is available to speak generally about the U.S. Supreme Court and this fall’s docket. Johnson conducts research on and teaches judicial politics, Supreme Court decision-making, Supreme Court oral arguments, executive/judiciary relations, and the evolution of the norm of respecting precedent. He has written extensively since the 1990s on Supreme Court oral arguments and decision-making.

Jennifer L. Pierce, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of American Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Pierce is available to discuss Fisher v. University of Texas. Pierce says, “Despite proclamations of colorblindness, studies show that racial discrimination -- often in subtle forms -- continues to be a problem in American society. Affirmative action was designed to combat precisely this problem. A Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action will not only make it more difficult for students of color to gain admissions to select colleges and universities, but also signals our nation's unwillingness to take seriously the problem of racial discrimination."

Pierce is the author of Racing for Innocence: Whiteness, Gender, and the Backlash Against Affirmative Action (Stanford University Press, 2012) that examines cultural perceptions, media coverage, and legal consequences related to Affirmative Action in workplaces. For the past 20 years, Pierce has studied subtle forms of race and gender discrimination in American workplaces.

Pierce is currently conducting research in Berkeley, Calif. and is available via phone as well as in person to Bay Area media.

To schedule interviews with Pierce or Johnson, contact Steve Henneberry with the University News Service at or (612) 624-1690.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today’s breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit Views expressed by experts do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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