U.S. Supreme Court Announces Second Fisher v. Texas Decision
U.S. Supreme Court Announces Second Fisher v. Texas DecisionJim Montoya, Senior Vice President, Higher Education
On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. In a 4–3 decision, the court upheld the University of Texas at Austin's race-conscious admission program under federal law, affirming the fifth circuit's ruling.
Notably, in affirming court precedent, the decision also provided significant insight regarding policy development considerations and key evidence, which should inform the efforts of public and private institutions that consider race in enrollment practices moving forward.
Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy outlined the court's decision, making the following points:
- The court preserves the existing federal legal framework based on Bakke, Grutter, Gratz, and Fisher I.
- The court affirms that the educational benefits of diversity remain a compelling interest under federal law.
- The court affirms that race can still be considered in higher education admission and enrollment decisions.
The opinion's conclusion observes that "...it remains an enduring challenge to our Nation's education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity."
The College Board is committed to continuing to support our higher education members in analyzing and evaluating the impact of this decision.
The College Board's Access & Diversity Collaborative (ADC) has compiled an FAQ regarding the court's decision. You can access that FAQ here. In the coming weeks, the ADC will continue to provide in-depth analysis and resources to help with this effort, including:
- A comprehensive analysis of the decision and its practical impacts for higher education and students (expected in 3–4 weeks)
- A meeting of ADC sponsors to help design the information and tools that will be of most help to institutions (in late July)
- Interactive webinars with legal and higher education experts to answer postsecondary institutions' most pressing questions
- Sessions and symposia at the College Board Forum in October to share guidance, strategies, and practices to support institutional goals in the new legal framework
Please reach out to Bradley Quin at firstname.lastname@example.org, Executive Director, Higher Education Advocacy to learn more about the Access & Diversity Collaborative, or if you have any questions.