In a stunning 4-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action program of the University of Texas that combines the university’s “top ten percent” admission policy combined with a “holistic review” of applications.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Fisher v. University of Texas, said, “As this Court has said, enrolling a diverse student body ‘promotes cross-racial understanding, helps to break down racial stereotypes, and enables students to better understand persons of different races. Equally important, ‘student body diversity promotes learning outcomes, and better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce and society.’”
It was a surprise decision, as this was the first time Kennedy had sided supported racially conscious affirmative action programming. The ruling was a sequel to the Supreme Court original 2013 decision in Fisher v. Texas that was also written by Justice Kennedy. This ruling did not overturn UT’s affirmative action program, but required the case to be remanded to a lower court under the strictest standard of judicial review, which most constitutional scholars believed would result in UT’s affirmative action policy to be ruled unconstitutional upon further consideration.
More information about this decision can be found here:
Text of opinion: www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-981_4g15.pdf