Editor: The U.S. Supreme Court again ruled on the use of race in Higher Education admissions. The case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, decided on June 23rd, follows several earlier pivotal affirmative action cases: the 1978 Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the 2003 Gratz v. Bollinger, the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger and the earlier Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin in 2013. (See chart at the bottom)
The Supreme Court on Affirmative Action in Higher Education
- 1978: In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the court ruled that the medical school at the University of California, Davis, could not reserve some slots with separate admissions standards for minority applicants. But the court also ruled that colleges could consider race and ethnicity in admissions decisions in ways that did not create quotas.
- 2003: In Gratz v. Bollinger, the court ruled that the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor had unconstitutionally used an undergraduate admissions system in which underrepresented minority applicants received points on the basis of their ethnic or racial background.
- 2003: In Grutter v. Bollinger, the court ruled that the University of Michigan's law school was within its constitutional rights in considering applicants' race and ethnicity because it did so through a “holistic” review and not by simply awarding points based on race and ethnicity.
- 2013: In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the court ruled that lower courts needed to apply “strict scrutiny” and not give colleges deference in reviews of challenges to the consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions decisions.