June 23, 2016 | By NACE Staff
In a 4-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action admissions plan at University of Texas. The plan provides for race to be considered as one factor in admissions.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that “the Court’s affirmance of the university’s admissions policy today does not necessarily mean the university may rely on that same policy without refinement” and stated that the university has an “ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admissions policies.”
This is the second time the case—Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin—has come before the Court. In 2013, the Court remanded the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals. In 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of the university, noting that its use of affirmative action is “narrowly tailored” and there are no other practical ways to increase diversity. In July 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to re-hear the case.
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin originated in 2008 when plaintiff Abigail Fisher was denied admission. Fisher, who is white, alleged that the university denied her admission because of her race. In Texas, high school seniors who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class are automatically granted admission to schools in the University of Texas system. The policy, adopted in 1996, is intended to increase minority enrollment. After accepting those from the top 10 percent, the schools fill remaining slots through an application process that considers race as a factor in the admission decision. Fisher did not qualify under the 10 percent rule.