December 8, 2015

Fisher oral argument tomorrow

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

At 10am EST tomorrow morning, the Supreme Court will hear argument in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. After six years of PLF involvement in this case, you probably know the facts: After the Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003, the University of Texas instituted a race-based admission policyHowever, unlike the use of race by the law school at the University of Michigan permitted in Grutter, the University of Texas had already attained a very racially diverse class without considering students’ race. After Abigail Fisher was denied entry to the University — in part because of her race — she sued the University arguing that its race-based admissions policy violated her right to nondiscrimination under the Equal Protection Clause. 

This is the second time that the Court will be hearing this case. The first time around, the Court ruled for Fisher and remanded the case to the lower court to review Texas’s race-based admissions policy under (a newly articulated) strict scrutiny. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Texas’s race-based policy a second time, and Fisher once again asked the Supreme Court to review her case. This time around, the Supreme Court is widely expected to determine whether the University’s race-based policy violated Fisher’s equal protection rights.

I’ll be at the Supreme Court tomorrow, and will provide a firsthand account of the argument here on the Liberty Blog later in the day.  In the meantime, Roger Clegg and I penned this op-ed in Forbes about the case.  Here’s a snippet:

One last point, also related to recent headlines. The campus protests were pushed off the front page by the ISIS murders in Paris, which in turn immediately led to some second thoughts about our accepting large numbers of Syrian refugees, and to doubts about Europe’s assimilation of Muslim immigrants. And this suggests another reason why the Court should end preferential treatment on the basis of race and ethnicity.

America is increasingly a multiracial and multiethnic country. In such a country, it is untenable for our institutions and laws to divide Americans according to skin color and what country their ancestors came from, and treat some better and some worse based on which silly little box they check.

Read the rest here, and check back tomorrow for a report on the argument.

What to read next