Affirmative Action; Discrimination, Accommodation, & Diversity; Equal Protection; Race and National Origin Discrimination; Constitutional Issues
Fisher v. University of Texas (U.S., June 23, 2016)
Plaintiff, a Caucasian woman who was denied admission to Defendant University of Texas at Austin, originally filed suit in 2008, claiming that Defendant’s consideration of race as part of its holistic-review admissions process disadvantaged her and other Caucasian applicants, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. In Fisher I, The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed its upholding of race-conscious affirmative action in Grutter v. Bollinger, then remanded the case. On appeal, the Supreme Court upheld Defendant’s race-conscious admissions program. Though the University has “a continuing obligation to satisfy the strict scrutiny burden,” the Court concluded that Defendant had met this obligation by “articulat[ing] concrete and precise goals . . . that mirror the compelling interest this court has approved in prior cases.” And, in this particular case, the primary reason Plaintiff was denied admission was not Defendant’s consideration of race, but the Top Ten Percent plan, in which the top ten percent of high school graduates are admitted to the public university of their choice. Thus the Court found that Plaintiff failed to show that she was denied equal treatment at the time her application was rejected.