UT, Abigail Fisher respond to SCOTUS admissions ruling



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Posted on June 24, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:13 AM

AUSTIN -- The U.S. Supreme Court didn't make a decison about the use of race in admissions, Monday. Instead, by a vote of seven to one, it simply ruled the case has to go back to a lower court, saying that court did not review the case detail by detail.

Both sides say the decision is a success for them.

Inside the iconic tower on the University of Texas campus, UT President Bill Powers spoke in a news conference addressing the Supreme Court's ruling to send Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin back to a lower court.

"Today's ruling will have no impact on admissions decisions that we have already made," Powers said.

Powers says he is pleased with the ruling, keeping the framework laid out by a 2003 case in place, allowing for a limited use of race in admission.

The other side is also happy.

"I am grateful to the justices for moving the nation closer to a day when students race isn't used at all in college admissions," Abigail Fisher said Monday.

Fisher filed the lawsuit in 2008 after being denied admission into UT. She claims race, being white, is what kept her out.

"The most important lesson I've learned through the last five years is to stick to your ideals, even if it means some personal sacrifice," Fisher said.

"I think it's safe to say that Abigail Fisher doesn't have many supporters on campus," said UT student Jennifer Tran.

"This will be the defining case on admissions for universities across the country," said former district judge Kevin Fine.

Fine is a now an Austin-based lawyer. He says the Supreme Court saw that the lower court didn't use the highest standard of review, almost allowing the university itself determine whether its program was legitimate.

"In other words, what they said was, 'Fifth Circuit, you are allowing the fox to guard the hen house, and that's not going to cut it...you are going to have to use strict scrutiny,'" Fine said.
"We've got more work to do, but I'm looking forward to the next steps in this process," Fisher said.
Fisher asked the court to over-rule a 2003 Supreme Court decision saying race could play a limited role in admission or declare UT's policy inconsistent with that ruling. The court did neither, only sending the case back to lower court for another look UT's policy.

You can read the Supreme Court's ruling, as well as what each justice had to say about it, by clicking here.

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