The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would revisit a lawsuit challenging how the University of Texas at Austin considers race and ethnicity in admitting undergraduates, setting the stage for yet another heated national debate over affirmative action at colleges.
The justices previously weighed in on the case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, just two years ago. They handed down a 7-to-1 decisionthat was regarded as an incremental victory for the plaintiff, Abigail Noel Fisher, a white applicant who sued the university for discrimination after being denied admission to the Austin campus, in 2008.
In its 2013 Fisher ruling, the Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s summary judgment in the university’s favor, but left intact its precedents allowing colleges to consider race in admissions to advance a compelling government interest in campus diversity. The majority opinion said the lower court had erred in essentially accepting at face value the university’s claims that it had seriously considered race-neutral alternatives to its policy and had narrowly tailored the policy to assign race or ethnicity no more weight than necessary. The lower court was ordered to reconsider the case…read more