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Media Alerts - Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin - Fifth Circuit
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July 15, 2014
  Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin - Fifth Circuit
Headline: Fifth Circuit Upholds Race-Conscious Admissions Policy at University of Texas.

Area of Law: Constitutional Law: Equal Protection.

Issue Presented: Whether the University of Texas violates the Equal Protection Clause by considering applicants' race as one part of its admissions plan.

Brief Summary: The University of Texas at Austin admits most of its incoming class through the state's Top Ten Percent Plan (which considers applicants' class rank in high school) and the remainder of its class through a more holistic process that includes consideration of race as one component. The university contends that some consideration of race is necessary in order to achieve a critical mass of minority students. In a prior round of litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the admissions program against a constitutional challenge brought by a white student who was denied admission. Last year, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded, concluding that the Fifth Circuit had not properly applied the "strict scrutiny" standard that applies to the government's use of racial classifications. In particular, the Supreme Court faulted the Fifth Circuit for showing excessive deference to the university's claim that consideration of race was necessary to achieve the goal of a diverse student body. On reconsideration, the Fifth Circuit has reaffirmed its prior ruling. Having scrutinized the university's plan again, the Fifth Circuit concluded that the university's consideration of race is narrowly tailored to achieving the compelling goal of diversity and that race-neutral alternatives would not suffice. The university's admissions plan is therefore lawful.

For the full opinion, please see:\09/09-50822-CV2.pdf.

Panel: Circuit Judges King, Higginbotham, and Garza.

Argument Date: 11/13/2013

Date of Issued Opinion: 7/15/2014

Docket Number: No. 09-50822

Decided: Affirmed

Counsel: Bert Walter Rein, Wiley Rein, L.L.P., for Plaintiff-Appellant Fisher; Gregory George Garre, Latham & Watkins, L.L.P., for Defendant-Appellee University of Texas at Austin.

Author of Opinion: Judge Higginbotham (Judge Garza dissenting)

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor: Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl

    Posted By: Aaron Bruhl @ 07/15/2014 04:45 PM     5th Circuit  

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