Facts of the Case

Provided by Oyez

Petitioner Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) sued the University of North Carolina (UNC) over its admissions process, alleging that the process violates the Fourteenth Amendment by using race as a factor in admissions. UNC admits that it uses race as one of many factors in its admissions process but argues that its process adheres to the requirements for race-based admissions outlined in the Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter v. Bollinger.


After an eight-day bench trial and litigation that spanned nearly seven years, the district court ruled that UNC’s admissions policy survived strict scrutiny and was consistent with Grutter v. Bollinger. SFFA appealed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed.


The case was originally consolidated for oral argument with a similar case challenging the admissions policies at Harvard University under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but the Court subsequently severed the two cases.


  1. May institutions of higher education use race as a factor in admissions?

  2. If so, does UNC’s race-conscious admissions process violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution?


  1. The University of North Carolina admissions program violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.