U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Upholds UT-Austin’s Admissions Policies

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the admissions policies of the University of Texas at Austin.

The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, released a statement about the court’s decision that read, in part:

The Supreme Court’s decision today in Fisher v. University of Texas is a win for all Americans. ….Today’s Supreme Court decision affirms a basic truth about our country: We are stronger together.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund released a statement from its president and director-counsel, Sherrilyn Ifill. Extracts are below:

Today’s decision by the Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas is a huge victory for civil rights and equality in our nation. The Court’s ruling upholds longstanding precedent and will allow continued progress in the effort to bring equal opportunity to college campuses. This is a victory for all Americans….

This is a hard-fought and deserved win. We hope that this decision will end the thirty-year campaign by anti-affirmative activists to dismantle efforts by colleges and universities to provide access and opportunity to students of all backgrounds….

It is worth noting that the case was brought by Abigail Fisher, an applicant who would not have been admitted to University of Texas based on her academic record. It was Ms. Fisher’s second time having her case against the University heard by the United States Supreme Court, despite the view of many court-watchers that Ms. Fisher lacked standing to bring her claim.

Ensuring diversity is particularly important at flagship state universities like UT, which have a special responsibility to ensure that “the path to leadership” is “visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity,” as the Court stated in Grutter….

A broad coalition asked the Supreme Court to support the critical importance of diversity in higher education, including: scores of Fortune 100 companies and leading American businesses; a group of retired military leaders; the U.S. Solicitor General; 19 states; dozens of Texas legislators; numerous universities, colleges, and educational associations; and more than 800 social scientists….

“I have white, Asian, black, and Latino friends who believe that colleges should be allowed to consider race on college admissions,” said David McDonald Jr., in the LDF statement. He is a former Black Student Alliance President at the University of Texas in Austin and an African American member of the class of 2016. “I’ve seen white and black friends make their first good friends of different races here. That’s what college is all about–expanding your horizons and learning about people. I want to thank the University of Texas for defending its admissions policy that promotes diversity.”