Fisher v. University of Texas

The University of Texas did not violate plaintiff’s constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment by using race as a factor in admissions, since race played a role in a relatively few applications and other race-neutral means of achieving student body diversity weren’t working at the time the race-conscious system was adopted.  University of Texas satisfied its burden of showing that its race conscious student admissions policies met the 14th Amendment’s strict scrutiny standard.  It was required to admit about 75% of the class under the state’s law that allowed admission to all who were in the top 10% of their Texas high school class.  The University selected the remaining 25% based on academic achievement and a mix of personal factors, race being one of them.  The University had studied its admissions policy before adopting the current system and found that it was not achieving the desired critical mass of minority students to give its students the benefits of student body diversity.  No specific number of minority students need be sought.  The fact that the race factor played a role in a relatively few applications supported its constitutionality rather than undermining it.  Other race neutral means of achieving student body diversity weren’t working at the time this race conscious system was adopted.

 United States Supreme Court (Kennedy, J.; Roberts, C.J., Thomas & Alito, JJ., dissenting); June 23, 2016; 2016 WL 3434399

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