The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to re-examine a case next term involving affirmative action at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), which challenges the university’s use of race in its admissions decisions.
The court last considered the case in 2013. Instead of rendering a decision at that time, the justices requested that the lower court take another look at the case, which examined UT’s efforts to achieve diversity. The lower court upheld UT’s program once again, and the plaintiff’s lawyers appealed to the high court.
The plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, is suing the university based on the argument that UT’s use of racial preference in its admissions decisions is unjust. In Texas, high school students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class are automatically admitted to any state university. In addition to this program, UT considers other factors, such as academic performance and race, in its admissions decisions.
According to the university, the “Top 10” program has helped increase diversity at the school, where about 25 percent of freshmen who enrolled as part of the program are Hispanic, while 6 percent are black.
Fisher, who is white and did not graduate in the top 10 percent of her class, was denied admission to UT.
The Supreme Court’s decision to take up this case may indicate its readiness to make a definitive decision on the role race plays in government decision making.