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Fisher v. University of Texas

United States Supreme Court
133 S.Ct. 2411 (2013)


Abigail Fisher (plaintiff), a Caucasian woman, was denied admission to the University of Texas (University) (defendant). Fisher filed suit against the University in federal district court, claiming that the University’s use of race in its admissions process violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The University had replaced a previously used race-based component in its admissions process with a Personal Achievement Index (PAI), which examined a student’s leadership, work experience, extra-curricular activities, and special circumstances like growing up in a single-parent household, speaking a language other than English at home, and the socioeconomic condition of the student’s family. At the same time, the Texas legislature had passed the Top Ten Percent Law (Top Ten), which permitted a student automatic admission to a state university or college if the student was in the top 10 percent of his or her Texas high school graduating class. Following the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), the University had resumed making race an express factor in computing the PAI for students who were not admitted pursuant to the Top Ten formula. Because Fisher was not in the top 10 percent of her graduating class, she had sought admission pursuant to the University’s PAI. The district court granted summary judgment to the University. Fisher appealed. The court of appeals affirmed. The Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

Concurrence (Scalia, J.)

Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)

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