Yesterday, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) requested leave to file a friend-of-the-court briefopposing further appellate review in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin).  Fisher is the first federal appellate challenge to the use of race in university admissions since the Supreme Courts landmark 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger

Last month, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the admissions program utilized by UT Austin to assemble a diverse student body.  Disappointed with this ruling, the unsuccessful applicants who challenged UT Austin’s admissions program filed a petition seeking the “extraordinary” relief of a rehearing by all of the judges on the Fifth Circuit, sitting “en banc.”  LDF’s brief, also filed on behalf of the Black Student Alliance at UT Austin, urges the Fifth Circuit to deny this petition. 

In LDF’s view, the panel’s unanimous ruling should not be revisited because it is a entirely proper application of binding Supreme Court authority in Grutter, which provided a workable standard for colleges and universities throughout the nation.