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U.S. Fifth Circuit Court Rules on Race-Conscious Admissions Policies at UT Austin
Friday, February 4, 2011
On January 18, the US Fifth Circuit ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas upheld the consideration of race in undergraduate admissions at the University of Texas at Austin through a three-judge panel with two concurrences. The circuit court held that the race-conscious admissions policy complied with the requirements established under Grutter (see University of Michigan vs. Grutter). Meanwhile, a lengthy concurrence by one of the panelists (Judge Garza) opined that Grutter was incorrectly decided but that UT had complied with its requirements. Observers have noted that the concurrence cites at length language from the Supreme Court's five "conservative" Justices, suggesting that Judge Garza may be encouraging the Supreme Court to reconsider its Grutter decision. Indeed, Judge Garza contended, "The Supreme Court has chosen this erroneous path and only the (Supreme) Court can rectify the effort." The plaintiffs in the case (who challenged the admissions policy) may decide to appeal this ruling.
For additional information on the case: "Appeals Court Upholds Use of Race in Texas Admissions".