Support for Race-Conscious Admissions

The U.S. Supreme Court will once again consider Abigail Fisher's case challenging race-conscious admissions. In December, the court will begin oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Fisher II). This week marked the final deadline for submitting briefs to the Supreme Court on the key affirmative action case, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Fisher originally sued UT Austin in 2008 after she was rejected from the university.

In 2013, the Supreme Court issued a 7-1 decision vacating the lower court Fifth Circuit ruling that had upheld the admissions program and remanding the case to the Fifth Circuit for further consideration. The ruling reaffirmed that public colleges could consider race in admissions, but only under strict conditions. The Supreme Court instructed the Fifth Circuit to review the case anew and to apply stricter scrutiny to its evaluation of the program.

Last summer, the Fifth Circuit court did just that and ruled again in favor of the institution. Fisher subsequently filed an appeal of the decision, which is the case that the Supreme Court has now agreed to consider.

AACRAO, along with the College Board, the Law School Admission Council, and the National Association for College Admission Counseling, filed an amicus brief on Monday backing the right of colleges to consider race in admissions. The American Council on Education filed a similar brief on Friday on behalf of itself and 37 other higher education groups representing college presidents, various parts of academe, accreditors, and faculty groups. The court received a slew of other briefs defending race-conscious admissions from labor groups like the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers; Teach for America; House Education and the Workforce ranking member Bobby Scott (D-Va.); Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas); and other congressional Democrats.

The deadline for those opposing the University of Texas position was in September, and a range of groups that oppose the consideration of race in admissions submitted briefs at that time.


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