Below is a statement from Sherrilyn A. Ifill, the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Fisher v. University of Texas on remand. The Fifth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s finding of summary judgment.
Today, the Fifth Circuit affirmed that Affirmative Action measures taken to advance a university’s compelling interest in fostering a diverse learning environment remains on sound legal footing. The court aptly noted that “university education is more the shaping of lives than the filling of heads with facts.”
Universities are incubators for America’s future leadership and for civic engagement. In our briefs and arguments to the Court of Appeals last year, LDF emphasized the vitality of the framework set out in Grutter that the court reaffirmed here today. The strength of the record developed by the University of Texas sufficiently supported the ongoing use of race as a tool to ensure diversity in our nation’s institutions of higher learning. This decision should stand as a declaration of the ongoing importance and legality of affirmative action efforts that holistically evaluate applicants for admission in higher education and for the principle of stare decisis.