On June 24, 2013 the Supreme Court announced its decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. This case considered whether using race as a factor in undergraduate admissions decisions is permitted by the Equal Protection Clause.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy, the Court held by a 7-1 vote that because the Fifth Circuit did not hold the university to the demanding burden of strict scrutiny articulated in the Grutter and Bakke precedents, its decision in favor of the university must be vacated and the case remanded for proper application of strict scrutiny. Chief Justice Roberts, as well as Justices Scalia, Thomas, Breyer, Alito and Sotomayor joined the opinion of the Court. Justices Scalia and Thomas filed concurring opinions. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion. Justice Kagan took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
To discuss the case, we have Gail Heriot, who is a Professor of Law at University of San Diego School of Law and Peter Kirsanow, who is a Partner at Benesch with the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group and a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.