Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, et. al.

Supreme Court Opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas Affirmative Action Case


Full text copy of the Supreme Court opinion in Fisher v. U of Texas in which the high court upheld the concept of affirmative action programs at the same time as it ruled that the Fifth Circuit had not applied the proper level of scrutiny to the University of Texas’ program.

From Cass Sunstein writing for Bloomberg:

“In Fisher, many people hoped -- or feared -- that a majority of the court would take the opportunity to insist on colorblindness. Instead, the court’s brief, technical, narrow opinion reaffirms the constitutional status quo.

The central thrust of the opinion is that the federal appeals court that ruled in favor of the Texas program had failed to undertake the careful inquiry required by the Supreme Court’s precedents. The court of appeals wrongly said that it would defer to a university’s ‘educational judgment’ that diversity ‘is essential to its educational mission.’ Kennedy responded that ‘it is for courts, not the university administrators,’ to decide whether the university’s choice to use race is necessary and narrowly tailored ‘to achieve the educational benefits of diversity.’

The fact that the university was acting in good faith (as emphasized by the court of appeals) wasn’t enough. Federal judges must give ‘close analysis to the evidence of how the process works in practice.’ Thus, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the appeals court so that it could assess whether the university’s affirmative-action program was, in fact, narrowly tailored.”

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Published In: Civil Procedure Updates, Civil Rights Updates, Constitutional Law Updates, Education Updates

Reference Info:Decision | Federal, U.S. Supreme Court | United States