Judicial Decision-Making, Social Science Evidence, and Equal Educational Opportunity: Uneasy Relations and Uncertain Futures
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AbstractThe full extent of what the Court decided in Grutter and Parents Involved remains in some dispute. What is far more certain is that both cases continue to stir deeply held passions that help frame public and legal debates about the Court and its role in affirmative action and school desegregation disputes. Amid these increasingly raucous debates, this Article expressly side steps the many questions (and controversies) about what the Court decided in those cases and seeks to escape from the frequently politically charged and volatile context of governmental uses of race. This Article instead focuses on how the Court reached its decisions in Grutter and Parents Involved and how the two decisions differ. In assessing the “how” questions this Article dwells exclusively on the Court's treatment of the social science evidence brought before it and gives a particular emphasis to the quantitative social science. A better understanding of how the Court reached its decisions in Grutter and Parents Involved matters not only for legal scholars but also, and perhaps more importantly, for future litigants and those bound by the decisions.