• Legal Issues: Supreme Court Says Affirmative Action Case Needs Stricter Scrutiny

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    June 26, 2013

    On June 24, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court sent a Texas case on race-based college admissions back to a lower federal court for deeper scrutiny.

    Written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the 7-1 decision said a college’s affirmative action plan is constitutional only if it is the only way to achieve diversity on campus. He instructed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to subject the University of Texas’ admission plan to the highest level of judicial scrutiny as required by the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld affirmative action in higher education.

    In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Abigail Fisher, a white female from Texas, filed a lawsuit in 2008 alleging the University of Texas at Austin denied her admission because of her race.

    Fisher fell outside of Texas’ “Top 10 Percent” rule, which automatically grants admission to schools in the University of Texas system to any student finishing in the top 10 percent of his or her high school class. This law was adopted in 1996 and is intended to increase minority enrollment.

    After accepting student applicants from the top 10 percent of their high school classes, the university system fills the remaining slots through an application process that considers the applicant’s race as a factor in the admissions decision.

    The case now goes back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit for review.


Legal Issues: Supreme Court Says Affirmative Action Case Needs Stricter Scrutiny