Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, on behalf of New York and 13 other states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a previous ruling allowing race to be a factor in college admissions decisions.
Schneiderman submitted a brief to the nation’s highest court arguing that it is Constitutional for higher education institutions to consider race in order to foster diversity in their student bodies.
The court will hear oral arguments Oct. 10 in a case against the University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative-action policies.
“For years, public universities have been permitted, under multiple landmark Supreme Court decisions, to take applicants’ race and ethnicity into account as one of many factors in individualized, holistic admissions decisions,” Schneiderman said in a statement Tuesday. “To protect the academic freedom of public institutions of higher learning and to allow them to achieve the full educational benefits of diversity, the Court should stand its ground against efforts to roll back these precedents.”
Under Texas’ “Top Ten Percent Law,” all students graduating in the top 10 percent of their Texas high school classes are automatically admitted, and in recent years, that has filled about 70 percent of the entering class. UT fills the balance of the class using individualized admissions, with race and ethnicity considered as a factor.
Abigail Fisher, who is white, was denied admission to the university in 2008. She sued, claiming that minority applicants who were less qualified were offered admission, violating her constitutional rights.
Joining in Schneiderman’s brief are: Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Read the full brief here: Texas Brief