U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Re-Hear Arguments in Fisher v. Univ. of Texas

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear—for a second time—arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a legal challenge to the equal opportunity admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Texas Top Ten Percent Plan is responsible for the majority of admissions to the university system. The accompanying admissions policy considers race as one of many factors in admissions, and its admissions policy has already been upheld multiple times. Last July, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals re-heard the Fisher case, and decided for a second time to uphold the University of Texas’s admissions policy. Abigail Fisher appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for a second time. The Fifth Circuit reheard the case on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, which had upheld UT’s policy in 2013 but asked the circuit court to review the policy again using “strict scrutiny.”

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, called the Supreme Court’s decision to re-hear the case “baffling.”

“Our nation’s colleges and universities play a critical role in preparing our children for a diverse, increasingly competitive global workforce. They need to have every tool at their disposal to create the kind of learning environment that will give our kids the best shot of success in a competitive 21st century economy,” said Henderson. “The University of Texas’s admissions policy is a carefully crafted one that is designed to create the diverse learning environments that are critical to the educational success of all students.”

Civil and human rights organizations have long supported equal opportunity initiatives that allow universities to consider, within a group of qualified applicants, factors in addition to test scores in order to create a diverse learning environment. At a time when educational inequities in our nation are vast and growing, admissions policies that consider race as one of many factors are crucial to ensuring that all students have a pathway to opportunity.

Expanding opportunities for all of our communities is in our nation’s best interest. For more information on why equal opportunity is important, watch this video: