Defending the Constitutionality of Race-Conscious University Admissions

Vinay Harpalani, J.D., Ph.D. Lee and Leon Karelitz Chair in Evidence and Procedure, Professor of Law, University of New Mexico School of Law

October 29, 2015

Just two years ago, the Supreme Court considered Abigail Fisher’s claim that the race-conscious admissions policy of the University of Texas at Austin violates the Equal Protection Clause. At that time, the Court unequivocally affirmed that student body diversity is a compelling governmental interest, but declined to reach the merits of the case and remanded it to the Fifth Circuit for further scrutiny of the means used by the university. This year, the case returns to the Supreme Court on the question of whether UT’s admissions policy is sufficiently narrowly tailored to further its interest in diversity. In this issue brief, Vinay Harpalani, Associate Professor of Law at Savannah Law School, explores the themes that will likely arise in this newest iteration of the Fisher case and offers proposals to universities, policymakers, and advocates who seek to defend the use of race-conscious admissions policies in the future.

Read the full issue brief here: Defending the Constitutionality of Race-Conscious University Admissions

By Vinay Harpalani