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Education

Supreme Court Will Revisit UT Affirmative Action Case

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KUT News
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Fisher v UT, which deals with the school's using race as a factor in its admissions process, will be revisited by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Today, the Supreme Court decided that it would take up the case of Fisher v the University of Texas at Austin, a suit dealing with a controversial admissions case at UT Austin. A white woman, Abigail Fisher, sued the school in 2008, claiming the university rejected her based on her race. The University says race is one of a few special circumstances it considers in admissions.

The University argues that it denied Fisher admission because she did not graduate in the top ten percent of her high school class, which is a requirement for 75 percent of the school's undergraduate admissions. The other 25 percent of admissions consists of students on special scholarships — or who meet a set of criteria that makes up a particular formula. That formula factors in the applicant's race. Fisher's case pointed to that formula for the argument that the student, who has since graduated from Louisiana State University, was not admitted because she identifies as white.

UT Austin President Greg Fenves released a statement this morning about the Supreme Court's decision, in which he says:

Under the Supreme Court's existing precedent, the university's commitment to using race as one factor in an individualized, holistic admissions policy allows us to assemble a student body that brings with it the educational benefits of diversity for all students. Our admissions policy is narrowly-tailored, constitutional and has been upheld by the courts multiple times. We look forward to making our arguments before the Supreme Court later this year.

The case made it to the Supreme Court in 2013, but the court punted the case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, who decided not to re-hear the case. Fisher then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear it a second time.

Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself from the case, because she worked on it during her tenure as solicitor general under the first Obama administration.

*This story will be updated with any new information.