Next Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a contentious case concerning whether the public university can uphold its tradition of affirmative action, or using race as a factor in undergraduate admissions decisions. And in the months leading up to the case, the legal education community, dozens of U.S. businesses, the Obama administration and other stakeholders have made it clear that they support the school’s practice.
In 2008, Abigail Fisher, a white woman who applied to University of Texas at Austin and was rejected, sued the school, accusing it of discrimination and denying her equal protection under the law because it considers race as a factor in its admissions decisions. A district court ruled in 2009 that UT-Austin’s admissions practices were constitutional, and the 5th Circuit upheld the decision last year. Fisher appealed to the Supreme Court, and soon after, dozens of groups filed a total of 73 amicus briefs either supporting Fisher or the school’s affirmative action policy.