On December 9, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. In this case, Ms. Fisher challenges the use of racial and ethnic preferences in undergraduate admissions at the University. This is the case’s second trip to the Supreme Court; in 2013, the Court reversed a Fifth Circuit decision that had upheld the University’s policy, and said the lower court had been too deferential to the school, particularly with respect to applying the “narrow tailoring” prong of strict scrutiny. On remand, the Fifth Circuit again ruled for the University, and last summer the Court granted Ms. Fisher’s petition.
Mr. Clegg and Prof. Shaw discussed what the Court is likely to do with the case, as well as what the Court should do with the case. The Court’s review comes at an interesting time, with numerous campus protests on race-related issues. Also of interest is the fact that Ms. Fisher’s lawyers have now filed lawsuits against Harvard and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and have emphasized allegations of discrimination against Asian Americans.
- Roger B. Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity
- Prof. Theodore M. Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for Civil Rights, University of North Carolina School of Law