Today in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court today held, in a 4-3 decision, that the “race-conscious admissions program in use at the time of petitioner’s application is lawful under the Equal Protection Clause.” This is the second time the Court has considered the issue but the first time it has issued a decisive decision.
In June 2013, the Court remanded the case to the Court of Appeals to ensure “exacting scrutiny” was applied to the University of Texas admissions program. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal concluded the UT affirmative action program passed that muster and was narrowly-tailored to achieve a diverse student body. Ms. Fischer appealed again claiming the Fifth Circuit had not applied the required level of scrutiny.
While this decision firmly supports such affirmative action programs, the Court’s opinion cautions: “The Court’s affirmance of the University’s admissions policy today does not necessarily mean the University may rely on that same policy without refinement. It is the University’s ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admission policies.”