U.S. Supreme Court

ABA Amicus Brief Supports Using Race as a Factor in College Admissions


The ABA is supporting the use of race as a factor in college admissions in a case that will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

At issue is whether the equal protection clause permits the University of Texas to use race as a factor in undergraduate admissions. UT determines the bulk of admissions by class rank. The remaining spots however, are filled based on a personal achievement score that includes race as a factor. Plaintiff Abigail Fisher, who was refused admission, claims a constitutional violation.

The ABA brief argues that diversity in undergraduate education is essential for diversity in law schools and the legal profession, according to a press release. “Full representation of racial and ethnic minorities in the legal profession is essential to the legitimacy of our legal and political systems,” the ABA brief (PDF) says, “and therefore constitutes a compelling state interest.”

The brief says the ABA supported the use of diversity as a factor in admissions in the Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld the admissions system used by the University of Michigan Law School. “In the nine years since Grutter was decided,” the brief says, “nothing has happened in our nation’s colleges and universities, in the legal profession or in American society at large, that would support a conclusion that race-conscious admissions procedures no longer remain valuable—and constitutionally permissible—tools for achieving diversity.”

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Chemerinsky: Supreme Court Revisits Affirmative Action in Universities”

ABA Journal: “Eyes of US Are Upon Texas: Affirmative Action Case Kicks Off the Supreme Court’s 2012 Term”

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court to Hear Challenge in ‘Potentially Momentous’ Case Testing College Affirmative Action”

ABAJournal.com: “Law Prof’s Amicus Brief in Potential Supreme Court Case Says Preferences Hurt Minorities”

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