The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same: Why Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin Will Not Fundamentally Alter the Affirmative Action Landscape

Adam Lamparello – In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (“Fisher II”), the United States Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of the University of Texas’s (“University”) affirmative action policy, and the potential impact of the Court’s decision on affirmative action programs nationwide is being widely debated. Some commentators fear that the Court is poised to end affirmative action altogether, thus causing a drastic reduction in the number of minorities who are admitted to universities across the country. Others believe that the Court should use Fisher II to invalidate all race-conscious admissions policies and endorse a color-blind process. Such concerns, along with the expectations of those who would like to see affirmative action eliminated, miss the mark.  A careful analysis of the issues in Fisher II, including the Justices’ comments during oral argument, the Court’s affirmative action jurisprudence, and the unique aspects of the University’s race-conscious admissions policy, suggest that although the University’s policy will likely meet its constitutional demise, the impact on affirmative action policies nationwide will not be substantial.

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Citation: Adam Lamparello, The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same: Why Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin Will Not Fundamentally Alter the Affirmative Action Landscape, 24 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 1 (2016).

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