May 30 — The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), in a brief filed today at the U.S. Supreme Court, asks the Court to overturn a ruling against Abigail Fisher, a white woman denied admission to the University of Texas in 2008 because of her race. Ms. Fisher had superior academic credentials to others who were admitted partly on the basis of race, thus violating her right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, the brief argues.
In Abigail Noel Fisher et al v. University of Texas at Austin, et al, the ACRU argues that race-based admission policies actually can hurt their intended beneficiaries, and discriminate against whites and some minorities, such as Asian-Americans. The brief, written by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara, also notes that an increase in minority admissions has eclipsed any need for racial balance policies at the university. Minority admissions soared after the state adopted a law requiring the university to accept anyone who scored academically in the top 10% of their schools.
“Indeed, by 2008 African-American and Hispanic students accounted for 25.5% of the incoming freshmen class, up from 16.2% in 1998, almost all due to the race neutral Top 10% Law that dominates admissions at UT,” the brief states.
“By 2010, a majority of the incoming freshmen class were minority students, with only a negligible impact from the racially based admissions criteria. Denied admission to UT based on her race, Petitioner Abigail Fisher sued UT in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleging that UT’s use of race in admissions is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, 42 U.S.C. Sections 1981 and 1983, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
The brief asks the court to reverse a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court, which had upheld a U.S. District Court ruling.
“Under the applicable strict scrutiny standard, and on the undisputed facts of this case, it could not be more clear that the time has come to end all racial preferences and quotas for admission to UT, and to any major, course of study, or academic program within the university,” the brief states.
“Moreover, at this time in our nation’s history, it would be desirable for this Court to announce a bright line decision that ends once and for all any racial preferences, quotas and discrimination for admission to any college or university in America. Such racial preferences in admissions have proved harmful to the very minority students that are supposed to be helped.”
Download the brief here. (PDF)