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Fisher v. University of Texas (Fisher II)

United States Supreme Court
135 S.Ct. 2584, 192 L.Ed.2d 609 (2015)



In 1996, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit determined that the University of Texas’s (defendant) admissions process was unconstitutional. At that time, the admissions process considered race, which violated the Equal Protection Clause because the consideration of race did not further a compelling government interest. The Texas legislature then adopted a statute known as the Top Ten Percent Law, which granted automatic admission to the university to all students from Texas high schools who were in the top 10 percent of their classes. The plan recognized pervasive segregation in public schools. By granting automatic admission, the plan guaranteed that there would be a significant pool of black and Latino students granted admission to the university. A few years later, the university adopted an additional admissions program in which race was one factor considered in admitting the portion of the entering class that was not admitted under the Top Ten Percent Law. Fisher (plaintiff) sued the University of Texas, alleging that the admissions policy violated the Equal Protection Clause. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the admissions policy was constitutional. However, the United States Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals failed to apply the correct standard of strict scrutiny. On remand, the court of appeals again found that the admissions policy was constitutional. Fisher petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

Dissent (Alito, J.)

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