U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Race-Conscious Admissions

on July 26, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (June 23, 2016, 14-981), upholding the race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin. The court found that Abigail N. Fisher, the plaintiff, was denied admission because of the university’s 10 percent plan and not because of race. The 10 percent plan admits the top 10 percent of high school graduates in the state to the in-state public college of their choice.

The court emphasized that the university nevertheless has "a continuing obligation to satisfy the strict scrutiny burden: by periodically reassessing the admission program’s constitutionality, and efficacy, in light of the school’s experience and the data it has gathered since adopting its admissions plan, and by tailoring its approach to ensure that race plays no greater role than is necessary to meet its compelling interests."

This may not end the conflict concerning affirmative action, as the Project on Fair Representation, who funded Ms. Fisher’s lawsuit, continues to file lawsuits to try to end the use of affirmative action. Lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are still pending.

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