More than 50 briefs in support of diversity and the University of Texas at Austin’s (UT) admissions policy were filed this week in the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on October 10.
A wide array of groups and leaders have acted in support of UT, including more than 55 leading corporations, more than 35 high-ranking retired military officials, student organizations, prominent social scientists, colleges and universities, small business representatives, states, religious denominations, labor unions, and civil and human rights organizations.
As the respondent, UT filed a strong brief in support of their admissions policy and the importance of diversity, acknowledging that diversity “better prepares students to become the next generation of leaders in an increasingly diverse work force and society.” UT President Bill Powers has been vocal in his support of the school’s admissions policy (video).
Sixteen civil and human rights groups joined The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in filing an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief with the Supreme Court in the Fisher case. The brief argues that, in order for students to receive the educational benefits associated with diverse campus environments, the Court should reaffirm previous rulings such as Grutter v. Bollinger that concluded diversity is a compelling state interest and that it is constitutional for universities to use race as one of numerous factors when making individualized admissions decisions to further that diversity interest.
The Fisher challenge was brought by a White student who claims she was denied admission to UT due to an admissions policy that considers race.
The case, Fisher v. University of Texas, is the first federal appellate challenge to the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, a 5-4 ruling that said diversity is a compelling interest for public universities and that race can be used as a factor in admissions.
In 2011, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the constitutionality of UT’s current admissions policy, saying it was consistent with Grutter. Civil and human rights advocates join the wide array of groups and leaders who are in support of UT and look to the Court to affirm that ruling.