Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin addressing the use of race as a consideration in admissions.

In 2008, Abigail Noel Fisher was denied admission to the University of Texas – Austin. Fisher filed a lawsuit alleging the university’s consideration of race in admissions violated her constitutional rights. 

The Supreme Court did not decide whether the university’s policy of using race as a plus factor in admissions was constitutional. Rather, the Court said that university affirmative action policies must be reviewed with strict scrutiny. This is an exacting standard that will require the university to show that its policy is narrowly tailored to achieve the university’s interest in diversity. The Court remanded the case to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to apply the proper standard of review. 

Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dissented.

If you have questions regarding university admissions policies or the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling, please contact Daniel V. Johns at 215.864.8107 or johns@ballardspahr.com, or Michelle M. McGeogh at 410.528.5661 or mcgeoghm@ballardspahr.com.  


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