Supreme Court Upholds UT?s Affirmative Action Program

The Supreme Court today decided that the measures taken by the University of Texas to achieve some measure of diversity among its student body meet the highest standards of ?strict scrutiny? and may continue to be used.  Fisher v. University of Texas, No. 14-981 (June 23, 2016).  In a closely divided 4-3 decision (Justice Kagan not participating), the Court again held that the goals of enrolling a diverse student body to promote ?cross-racial understanding and enable students to better understand persons of different races? were sufficient to survive Constitutional review.

Although the decision is quite narrow and tailored to the UT program, it is likely that other public universities may try to rely on the Court?s ruling as a road map for how they may constitutionally consider race in their admissions programs moving forward.  Because of the unique elements of the UT program ? along with the strongly stated dissent ? (?a State?s use of race in higher education admissions decisions is categorically prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause,? Thomas, J., dissenting), it is not likely that this decision will end debate in the country or the courts on the issue of affirmative action in college selections.

The Court?s decision can be accessed here .