The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has granted LDF’s motion to participate in oral argument in Fisher vs. University of Texas, scheduled for Wednesday, November 13, 2013. Josh Civin, Counsel to the Director of Litigation at LDF, will argue on behalf of LDF and its clients, the Black Student Alliance at the University of Texas at Austin (BSA) and Black Ex-Students of Texas, Inc. (BEST).

In June 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case endorsing the benefits of student-body diversityin colleges and universities and allowed the continued use of race-conscious admissions policies. The Court declined to strike down the University of Texas undergraduate admissions plan, but sent the case back down to the Fifth Circuit for further proceedings.

The narrow constitutional issue left open in the case on remand to the Fifth Circuit is whether workable, race-neutral alternatives could promote the University’s compelling interest in the educational benefits of diversity about as well as its current race-conscious holistic review plan, and at tolerable administrative expense. LDF argues that there are no additional workable race-neutral alternatives beyond those that UT had already implemented in 1997-2004 and continues to use today that would allow UT to make further progress, at tolerable administrative expense, toward fully achieving the educational benefits of diversity. 

LDF’s supplemental amicus brief to the Fifth Circuit highlights the experiences of its clients, members of BSA and BEST. As these current students and alumni can attest, UT’s experiment with race-neutral admission between 1997-2004 resulted in stifling racial isolation and it still has far to go to reach the type of meaningful representation and inclusive environment that can help to achieve the full benefits of diversity. The amicus brief also notes a wealth of additional evidence and research confirming that UT’s race-conscious holistic review meaningfully supplements its “Top Ten Percent” admissions program. These types of race-conscious admissions policies open pathways to leadership and opportunity to a broad spectrum of underrepresented minority students, which is critically important to UT’s mission as a flagship state institution of higher education.

Click here to read LDF’s Supplemental Amicus Brief.