On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to revisit the case of a Texas woman who claims affirmative action prevented her from attending the University of Texas. The move means race-based affirmative action is once again in danger of being abolished at public institutions.
The case, Fisher v. Texas, concerns the troubles of Abigail Fisher, who applied to the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and was rejected. Currently, UT-Austin automatically grants admission to the top 10% of every high school class, while doling out its remaining admissions based on a “holistic process” that evaluates grades, extracurriculars, and other factors (including race). Fisher claims that lower-quality applicants were admitted to the school on the basis of their race, illegally violating the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
The case was first heard by the Supreme Court in 2013, and many thought the justices would gut affirmative action then. Instead, the Court issued a narrower 7-1 ruling that ordered lower courts to apply a higher degree of scrutiny in determining whether Texas’ affirmative action program was constitutional.
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