The U.S. Supreme Count's Use of Non-Legal Sources and Amicus Curiae Brieds in Fisher v. University of Texas



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Journal of College and University Law


In February 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that challenged the constitutionality of a race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin (“the university”). In addition to the evidence put forward by the parties, a broad constituency of individuals and organizations on both sides of the debate mobilized to inform the Court of the arguments under consideration. For example, amici curiae in support of the university presented research to impress upon the Court the need for postsecondary institutions to be permitted to consider race as one among myriad factors in admissions to fulfill their educational missions. Amici in support of Fisher also submitted a wide range of sources to support arguments that the university’s race-conscious policy did not meet the requirements of the Equal Protection Clause. Four years later in 2016, the Court ultimately upheld the constitutionality of the policy in a 4-3 decision. Applying the standard of strict scrutiny, the Court’s decision re-affirmed decades of precedent establishing that postsecondary institutions had a compelling interest in furthering a diverse student body and held that, as implemented by the university, the use of race was narrowly tailored to this goal. Justice Kennedy, who for the first time found a race-conscious policy in education to be narrowly tailored, authored the majority opinion in the case.



Research use, Law, Higher education


Copyright 2018 Journal of College and University Law. Recommended citation: Garces, Liliana M., Patricia Marin, and Catherine L. Horn. "The US Supreme Court's Use of Non-Legal Sources and Amicus Curiae Briefs in Fisher v. University of Texas." JC & UL 43 (2017): 167. URL: Reproduced in accordance with the original publisher's licensing terms and with permission from the author(s).