U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds the University of Texas’ Affirmative Action Plan

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the affirmative action policies on the University of Texas in a case brought by Abigail Fisher that had previously made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In June 2013, the Supreme Court, in Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin, reversed the decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld the race-sensitive admissions plan at the University of Texas at Austin. The Supreme Court ruled that the Appeals Court did not obtain sufficient information from the university as to whether the plan met the strict guidelines for a “narrowly tailored” plan as outlined in the 2003 Grutter decision. It sent the case back to the Appeal Court, ordering it to use “strict scrutiny” to determine if the university had complied with the “narrowly tailored” guidelines issued in the Grutter case.

In the current decision, the Appeal Court said that they were “persuaded” that university had met the Grutter guidelines.

In a statement, William Powers, the president of the University of Texas at Austin, said, “We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling recognizing the constitutionality of the University’s admissions policy under the Supreme Court’s recent guidance. We remain committed to assembling a student body at The University of Texas at Austin that brings with it the educational benefits of diversity while respecting the rights of all students. This ruling ensures that our campus, our state and the entire nation will benefit from the exchange of ideas and thoughts that happens when students who are diverse in all regards come together in the classroom, at campus events and in all aspects of campus life.”

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