Supreme Court Issues Landmark Affirmative Action Decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

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Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz partner Lori Alvino McGill played a leading role representing the University in Fisher v. University of Texas.  In a 4-3 decision authored by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court upheld UT’s undergraduate admissions policy, which considers an applicant’s racial background as one of many factors.  The decision reaffirms that universities have a compelling interest in seeking the educational benefits of a broadly diverse student body, and that they may use race-conscious admissions policies tailored to that goal.  The decision–which praises the University’s efforts to achieve diversity through other means, and its reasoned conclusion that those efforts were inadequate–also marks the first time that Justice Kennedy has voted to uphold a race-conscious admissions policy as consistent with the Equal Protection Clause.

The Court’s ruling will allow UT and other universities to continue to “defin[e] those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to [their] identity and educational mission.”

To learn more about Fisher and access the briefs in this case, visit SCOTUSblog.com.