The New York Times reported today on LDF’s arguments in the Fisher vs. University of Texas case on remand to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals following the Supreme Court’s decision this past June in which it declined to end the University’s race-conscious admissions plan and sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings. Josh Civin, Counsel to the Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), presented oral argument on behalf of LDF’s clients the Black Student Alliance at the University of Texas at Austin (BSA) and Black Ex-Students of Texas, Inc. (BEST).
The hearing focused on the extensive record regarding the race-neutral efforts the University of Texas (UT) employed prior to pairing those approaches with a race-conscious admissions component. And a significant portion of the argument also addressed the relevance of UT’s history and experience in developing its policy. Judge Patrick Higginbotham, who authored a 2010 Court of Appeals opinion that upheld the constitutionality of UT’s admission plan, noted the danger of stereotypes that race-conscious holistic review is designed to address.
Civin’s arguments echoed the points articulated in the supplemental amicus brief LDF submitted on behalf of BSA and BEST, and highlighted the constitutionality and meaningful impact of the University’s admissions policy.
“Lawyers for the university as well as those representing black and Hispanic students argued that there were no race-neutral alternatives available that would allow it to achieve the benefits of diversity.
Many black students, they argued, experienced racial isolation on campus between 1997 and 2004, when the university did not consider race in admissions. During that period, they said, African-Americans never made up more than 4.5 percent of any freshman class.”