Legal Issues

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important opinion in Abigail Fisher v. Univ. of Texas-Austin, a legal challenge to the use of racial classifications and preferences in admissions by UT-Austin. An impartial analysis of the case can be found at Scotusblog.com.

One of the most important parts of the Fisher opinion concerns whether, and how, a university can use race and ethnicity to accept or reject an applicant. The justices were very clear about this. They wrote that before a school turns to race preferences in order to create a diverse student body it must undertake a rigorous process known as “strict scrutiny.”

Here is what the Court wrote:

“…strict scrutiny imposes on the university the ultimate burden of demonstrating, before turning to racial classifications, that available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice.”

“It is at all times the University’s obligation to demonstrate, and the Judiciary’s obligation to determine, that admissions processes ensure that each applicant is evaluated as an individual and not in a way that makes an applicant’s race or ethnicity the defining feature of his or her application.”

It is our belief that Harvard, UNC and most competitive universities are not in compliance with the Supreme Court’s instructions.