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Nine Years After Grutter v. Bollinger, Supreme Court Revisits Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas to consider whether use of race in undergraduate admissions decisions violates equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. The Court’s decision will have significant consequences for affirmative action policies at public universities.

In an effort to maximize diversity, the University of Texas at Austin (the “University”) adopted an admissions policy that incorporates a “holistic” review of each application. Each applicant is assigned a Personal Achievement Score. Race is one of seven factors that can add points to a Personal Achievement Score. The appellant, Abigail Fisher, brought suit against the University of Texas after she applied to the university’s undergraduate program and was not admitted. Fisher alleges that use of the Personal Achievement Score in admissions decisions is discriminatory and violates the equal protection clause. The University countered that the policy is permissible under Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306, 123 S. Ct. 2325 (2003), which held that higher learning institutions could consider race as one factor among many in admissions decisions. The United States District Court (W.D. Texas) granted summary judgment for the University, and the Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision.

With more than 20 litigators and trial attorneys, our Litigation Division represents public and private sector clients in a number of claims before judges, juries, administrative panels, arbitrators and appellate panels. Our lawyers have extensive experience defending civil rights claims in both federal and State court. The Division works seamlessly with our Appellate Practice Group, which handles some of the most significant constitutional and governmental law matters to come before the courts of Florida and the United States.

You can read a copy of the Fifth Circuit’s opinion here.

Categories: LitigationFederal LawFederal CourtsConstitutional Law
Tags: Governmental LitigationJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaMatthew H. MandelMiami Appellate Law AttorneysSouth Florida Appellate Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Constitutional Law AttorneysMiami Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara