University of Texas at AustinDivision of Diversity and Community Engagement

University Files Brief in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin; Friend of the Court Briefs Follow

August 7, 2012

On Monday, Aug. 6, The University of Texas at Austin filed its brief to the United States Supreme Court as a respondent in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Abigail Noel Fisher, the plaintiff in the case, claims that she was denied admission to the university in 2008 because she is white.

The brief discusses the university’s admissions process in relation to the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger and the 1978 decision in Regents of University of California v. Bakke.

Those decisions prohibit racial quotas but acknowledge the importance of diversity and allowed universities to consider race among multiple factors while admitting students.

UT’s admissions system was upheld by both the United States District Court of the Western District of Texas and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. According to the 5th Circuit, “It would be difficult for UT to construct a policy that more closely resembles the policy approved by the Supreme Court in Grutter.” Read more about the University’s brief.

The deadline for amicus briefs to be filed on behalf of the university was Aug. 13. More than 60 separate “friend of the court” briefs have been filed, including one from the family of Heman Marion Sweatt, the first African American admitted to The University of Texas School of Law. Another brief was filed by 60 large corporations including Dell, Southwest Airlines, Microsoft, Pfizer and Xerox and yet another by a group of retired Department of Defense, military and national security leaders.  More information on the briefs that have been filed is available on the university’s web site.

In a university press release regarding the briefs filed, President Powers said, “We are delighted and thankful by this show of support. These amicus briefs demonstrate that this is a very important issue that will guide where America is going in the future.”

President Powers Video

A video of President Powers discussing the anticipated briefs is available for viewing.

View legal documents related to case.

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