Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: Good News!

In a 4-3 decision announced this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Fifth Circuit  decision holding that it is constitutional for the University of Texas’s admissions program to consider race as one factor–among many–in attempting to create a diverse educational experience for its student body.

The ACLU applauds the decision. It is necessary for students to receive the vast and crucial benefits that diverse campus environments offer.

The ACLU supports and defends equal rights and opportunities for all students. Students who live in substandard housing and neighborhoods, or who attend low-performing schools, should also have access to our public universities. Universities need to know more about a prospective student than just their GPA and SAT score. We are more complex than our test-taking abilities.

In its 2013 decision on Fisher, the Court affirmed the value of racial and ethnic diversity in educational settings, but they questioned whether the Circuit Court erred in not applying “strict scrutiny” as to whether UT truly needed a race-conscious program to produce a diverse student body. That is, they felt the Circuit Court was too deferential to school administrators. The Fifth Circuit affirmed its earlier decision, again upholding the UT admissions plan. Fisher appealed, and today, lost.

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