Fisher v. University of Texas - Background
In 2003, the United States Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action admission policy of the University of Michigan School of Law in Grutter v. Bollinger.
The Grutter decision prompted the trustees of the University of Texas at Austin, the leading public university in that state, to adopt its own version of an admissions program for undergraduates, with race as a contributing though not controlling factor. A young white woman from Sugar Land, Texas - Abigail Fisher - applied for admission as a first-year student in the fall of 2008 when that policy was in effect. As a resident of Texas, she would have been admitted automatically if she had finished her high school career in the top ten percent of her class, but she did not. Ms. Fisher sued the University after she was denied admission, alleging that the "Top Ten Percent Plan" had filled more than eighty-five percent of the available slots in the entering freshman class, so Ms. Fisher was competing for admission with a much smaller group, where she was disadvantaged because of her race. The U.S. District Court sided with the university, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed. In rejecting Ms. Fisher's challenge, the three-judge Circuit Court found that the University had correctly applied the constitutional standards that the Supreme Court had fashioned in Grutter. Subsequently, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to hear the appeal of the Fifth Circuit decision. Oral arguments were held October 10, 2012.
Equality in higher education is a cause that affects the members of NBLSA directly, and therefore, it is our responsibility to answer the call of fighting to ensure that the policy at the University of Texas at Austin and public universities around the country are conscious of making college education available to minority students. As law students, NBLSA is committed to advocating for equality in access to higher education which will combat the historically low numbers of minority lawyers in the field.
How NBLSA Has Become Involved
NBLSA submitted a brief as amicus curiae in support of Respondents, urging the Supreme Court to affirm the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholding the race-conscious admissions policy of the University of Texas at Austin ("UT Austin"). Click here to read the brief!
Day of Action Opportunity Rally
NBLSA joined in collaboration with the Leadership Council to mobilize in support of Fisher v. Texas for an event entitled: Day of Action for Opportunity. Members of NBLSA will hold rallies around the country in solidarity with the "Day of Action for Opportunity" rally , held at the U.S. Supreme Court on October 10, 2012, in support of the affirmative action policy before the court.