The Supreme Court’s Decision to Uphold the University of Texas’s Plan Was Defective

The Supreme Court’s Decision to Uphold the University of Texas’s Plan Was Defective

Private papers reveal the tactics that helped SCOTUS uphold the use of affirmative action.

[Warning: The following contains graphic details.]

On March 8, 2014, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which challenged the University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action plan. The University had been trying since the fall of 2012 to use a section of the Texas Constitution to establish racial preferences for its admissions process. That section, article XVI, section 3, was meant to allow the University to use race, ethnicity and gender as a factor in admissions. But critics have argued that the provision violated the Texas Constitution by creating a state-based quota system in which UT A was guaranteed the highest possible number of state funds in which to fund minority groups — and ultimately, its own racial quotas.

On April 16, Texas’s top court ruled 5-4 that the University could implement its plan. Justice Samuel Alito argued before his death that the court’s decision would be “defective.” Justice Antonin Scalia also opposed the court’s decision but, in a concurring opinion, wrote that although he agreed with SCOTUS’s decision to uphold the University of Texas’s plan by a 5-4 margin, he believed the Supreme Court in its decision was not fully focused on the University’s plan. Instead, the court should have considered if there was any state-mandated plan which should be invalidated.

“The University, by its own admissions, has admitted that a state-mandated program cannot ever be unconstitutional,” wrote Justice Scalia.

The University’s plan was also criticized for its racial makeup, which was overwhelmingly white. In October 2012, The University’s board of trustees voted 12-5 to approve the plan. The plan had set a goal of having 30 percent of its incoming freshman class be from minority groups. As of mid-2015, the University

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